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Full text of "Hiroshima"

First published in the NEW YORKER, August, 1946 

Published in Penguin Books 

November 1946 



C 



Made and printed in Great Britain 

for Penguin Books Ltd. by C. Nicholls and Co. Ltd. 

London* Manchester, Reading 



PUBLISHERS' NOTE- 
ON Monday, "August 6th, 1945, a new era in human . 
history opened. After years of intensive research and 
experiment, conducted in their later stages mainly in 
America, by scientists of many nationalities, Japanese 
among them, the forces which hold together the con- 
stituent particles of the atom had at last been harnessed 
to man's use: and on that day man used them. By a 
decision of the American military authorities, made, 
it is said, in defiance of the protests of many of the 
scientists who had worked on the project, an atomic 
bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. As a direct result, 
some 60,000 Japanese men, women and children were 
killed, and 100,000 injured ; and almost the whole of a 
great seaport, a city of 250,000 people, was destroyed 
by blast or by fire. As an indirect result, a few days 
later, Japan acknowledged defeat, and the Second 
World War came to an end. 

For many months little exact and reliable news 
about the details of the destruction wrought by the 
first atomic bomb reached Western readers. Millions 
of words were written, in Europe and America, ex- 
plaining the marvellous new powers that science had 
placed in men's hands; describing the researches and 
experiments that had led up to this greatest of all 
disclosures of Nature's secrets: discussing the pro- 
blems for man's future which the new weapon raised. 
Argument waxed furious as to the ethics of the bomb : 
should the Japanese have received advance warning 

v 



of America's intention to use it ? Should a demon- 
stration bomb have been exploded in the presence of 
enemy observers in some remote spot where it would 
do a minimum of damage, as a warning to the Japanese 
people, before its first serious use ? But of the feelings 
and reactions of the people of Hiroshima to the bomb, 
nothing, or at least nothing that was not pure imagina- 
tion, could be written ; for nothing was known. 

Tn May, 1946, The New Yorker sent John Hersey, 
journalist and author of A Bell for Adano, to the Far 
East to find out what had really happened at Hiro- 
shima : to interview survivors of the catastrophe, to 
endeavour to describe what they had seen and felt and 
thought, what the destruction of their city, their lives 
and homes and hopes and friends, had meant to them 
in short, the cost of the bomb in terms of human 
suffering and reaction to suffering. He stayed in Japan 
for a month, gathering his own material with little, if 
any, help from the occupying authorities ; he obtained 
the stories from actual witnesses. The characters in his 
account are living individuals, not composite types. 
The story is their own story, told as far as possible in 
their own words. On August 31st, 1946, Hersey's 
story was made public. For the first time in The New 
Yorker's career an issue appeared which, within the* 
familiar covers, bearing for such covers are prepared 
long in advance a picnic scene, carried no satire, no 
cartoons, no fiction, no verse or smart quips or shop- 
ping notes : nothing but its advertisement matter and 
Hersey's 30,000-word story. 

That story is built round the experiences of six 
people who were in Hiroshima when the bomb dropped, 

VI 



each of whom, by some strange chance, escaped, not 
unscathed, but at least with life. One, a Roman 
Catholic missionary priest, was a German; the other 
five were Japanese: a Red Cross hospital doctor, 
another doctor with a private practice, an office girl, 
a Protestant clergyman, and a tailor's widow. For 
some time after the bomb had fallen, none of them 
knew exactly what had happened : they hardly realised 
that their old familiar life had ended, that they had 
been chosen by chance, or destiny, or as two of them 
at any rate would have put it by God, to be helpless 
small-part actors in an unparalleled tragedy. Bit by 
bit came the awakening to the magnitude of the 
calamity that had removed, in a flash, nearly all their 
accustomed world. 

Hersey's vivid yet matter-of-fact story tells what the 
bomb did to each of these six people, through the hours 
and the days that followed its impact on their lives. 
It is written soberly, with no attempt whatever to 
"pile on the agony" the presentation at times is 
almost cold in its economy of words. To six ordinary 
men and women, at the time and afterwards, it seemed 
like this. 

The New Yorker's original intention was to make the 
story a serial. But in an inspired moment, the paper's 
editors saw that it must be published as a single 
whole and decided to devote a whole issue to Hersey's 
masterpiece of reconstruction. For ten days Hersey 
^feverishly rewrote and polished his story, handing it 
out by instalments to the printers, and no hint of what 
was in the air escaped from The New Yorker office. 
On August 31st, in the paper's usual format, the 

Vli 



historic issue appeared. It created a first-order 
sensation in American journalistic history : a few 
hours after publication the issue was sold out. Applica- 
tions poured in for permission to serialise the story in 
other American journals, among them the New York 
Herald Tribune, Washington Post, Chicago Sun, and 
Boston Globe. A condensed version the cuts person- 
ally approved by Hersey was broadcast in four 
instalments by the American Broadcasting Company. 
Some fifty newspapers in the U.S. eventually obtained 
permission to use the story in serial form, the copyright 
fees, after tax deduction, at Mersey's direction going to 
the American Red Cross. Albert Einstein ordered 
a thousand copies of the New Yorker containing the 
story. Even stage rights were sought from the author, 
though he refused to give permission for dramatisation. 
British newspapers and press syndicates immediately 
cabled for reproduction rights : but the New Yorker's 
executives insisted that no cutting could be permitted, 
and with British paper rationing, full newspaper 
publication was seen to be impracticable. The book 
production rights for the United States were secured 
by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., and the American Book of 
the Month Club chose it for publication as an "Extra" ; 
and the B.B.C. obtained permission to broadcast the 
article in full in four episodes as part of their new 
Third Programme. 

Penguin Books, feeling that Kersey's story should 
receive the widest possible circulation in Great Britain,- 
immediately cabled to Alfred A. Knopf for, and were 
accorded, permission to issue it complete in book 
form. It here appears save for following English 
vm 



spelling conventions in an edition of 250,000 copies, 
exactly as it appeared in the pages of the New Yorker. 
Many accounts have been published telling so far as 
security considerations allow how the atom bomb 
works. But here, for the first time, is not a description 
of scientific triumphs, of intricate machines, new 
elements, and mathematical formulas, but an account 
of what the bomb does seen through the eyes of some 
of those to whom it did it : of those who endured one 
of the world's most catastrophic experiences, and lived. 



IX 



HIROSHIMA 



The following note 

appeared in the NEW YORKER of 31 dugusf, 1946, 
as an introduction to John Hersey's article 

The NEW YORKER this week devotes its entire 

editorial space to an article on the almost complete 

obliteration of a city by one atomic bomb, and 

what happened to the people of that city. It does 

so in the conviction that few of us have yet 

comprehended the all but incredible destructive 

power of this weapon, and that everyone might 

wed take time to consider the terrible 

implications of its use. 



I . 

A NOISELESS FLASH 

AT exactly fifteen minutes past eight in the morning, 
on August 6th, 1945, Japanese time, at the moment 
when the atomic bomb flashed above Hiroshima, 
Miss Toshiko Sasaki, a clerk in the personnel depart- 
ment at the East Asia Tin Works, had just sat down at 
her place in the plant office and was turning her head 
to speak to the girl at the next desk. At that same 
moment, Dr. Masakazu Fujii was settling down 
cross-legged to read the Osaka Asahi on the porch of 
his private hospital, overhanging one of the seven 
deltaic rivers which divide Hiroshima; Mrs. Hatsuyo 
Nakamura, a tailor's widow, stood by the window 
of her kitchen watching a neighbpur tearing down his 
house because it lay in the path of an air-raid-defence 
fire lane; Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge, a German 
priest of the Society of Jesus, reclined in his underwear 
on a cot on the top floor of his order's three-storey 
mission house, reading a Jesuit magazine, Stimmen der 
Zeit; Dr. Terufumi Sasaki, a young member of the 
surgical staff of the city's large, modern Red Cross 
Hospital, walked along one of the hospital corridors 
with a blood specimen for a Wassennann test in his 
hand; and the Reverend Mr. Kiyoshi Tammoto, 
pastor of the Hiroshima Methodist Church, paused at 
the door of a rich man's house in Koi, the city's western 
suburb, and prepared to unload a handcart full of 
things he* had evacuated from town in fear of the 
massive B29 raid which everyone expected Hiroshima 
to suffer. A hundred thousand people were killed 



14 HIROSHIMA 

by the atomic bomb, and these six were among the 
survivors. They still wonder why they lived when so 
many others died. Each of them counts many small 
items of chance or volition -a step taken in time, a 
decision to go indoors, catching one street-car instead 
of the next that spared him. And now each knows 
that in the act of survival he lived a dozen lives and saw 
more death than he ever thought he would see. At the 
time none of them knew anything. 

t jhe Reverend Mr. Tanimoto got up at five o'clock 
that morning. He was alone in the parsonage, because 
for some time his wife had been commuting with their 
year-old baby to spend nights with a friend in Ushida, 
a suburb to the north. Of all the important cities of 
Japan, only two, Kyoto and Hiroshima, had not been 
visited in strength by B-san, or Mr. B, as the Japanese 
with a mixture of respect and unhappy familiarity, 
called the B-29 ; and Mr. Tanimoto, like all his neigh- 
bours and friends, was almost sick with anxiety. He 
had heard uncomfortably detailed accounts of mass 
raids on Kure, Iwakuni, Tokuyama, and other nearby 
towns; he was sure Hiroshima's turn would come 
soon. He had slept badly the night before, because 
there had been several air-raid warnings. Hiroshima 
had been getting such warnings almost every night for 
weeks, for at that time the B-29s were using Lake Biwa, 
north-east of Hiroshima, as a rendezvous point, and no 
matter what city the Americans planned to hit, the 
Super-fortresses streamed in over the coast near 
Hiroshima. The frequency of the 'warnings and the 
continued abstinence of Mr. B with respect to Hiro- 
shima had made its citizens jittery ; a rumour was going 



A NOISELESS FLASH 15 

around that the Americans were saving something 
special for the city. 

Mr. Tanimoto is a small man, quick to talk, laugh, 
and cry. He wears his black hair parted in the middle 
and rather long ; the prominence of the frontal bones 
just above his eyebrows and the smallness of his 
moustache, mouth, and chin give him a strange, old- 
young look, boyish and yet wise, weak and yet fiery. 
He moves nervously and fast, but with a restraint which 
suggests that he is a cautious, thoughtful man. He 
showed, indeed, just those qualities in the uneasy days 
before the bomb fell. Besides having his wife spend 
the nights in Ushida, Mr. Tanimoto had been carrying 
all the portable things from his church, in the close- 
packed residential district called Nagaragawa, to a 
house that belonged to a rayon manufacturer in Koi, 
two miles from the centre of town. The rayon man, 
a Mr. Matsui, had opened his then unoccupied estate 
to a large number of his friends and acquaintances, 
so that they might evacuate whatever they wished 
to a safe distance from the probable target area. Mr. 
Tanimoto had no difficulty in moving chairs, hymnals, 
Bibles, altar gear, and church records by pushcart 
himself, but the organ console and an upright piano 
required some aid. A friend of his named Matsuo 
had, the day before, helped him get the piano out to 
Koi; in return, he had promised this day to assist 
Mr. Matsuo in hauling out a daughter's belongings. 
That is why he had risen so early. 

Mr. Tanimoto cooked his own breakfast. He felt 
awfully tired. The effort of moving the piano the day 
before, a sleepless night, weeks of worry and unbalanced 



16 HIROSHIMA 

diet, the cares of his parish all combined to make him 
feel hardly adequate to the new day's work. There 
was another thing, too: Mr. Tanimoto had studied 
theology at Emory College, in Atlanta, Georgia; he 
had graduated in 1940; he spoke excellent English; 
he dressed in American clothes ; he had corresponded 
with many American friends right up to the time 
the 'war began ; and among a people obsessed with a 
fear of being spied upon perhaps almost obsessed 
himselfhe found himself growing increasingly uneasy. 
The police had questioned him several times, and 
just a few days before, he had heard that an influential 
acquaintance, a Mr. Tanaka, a retired officer of the 
Toyo Kisen Kaisha steamship line, an anti-Christian, 
a man famous in Hiroshima for his showy philan- 
thropies and notorious for his personal tyrannies, had 
been telling people that Tanimoto should not be 
trusjted. In compensation, to show himself publicly 
a good Japanese, Mr. Tanimoto had taken on the 
chairmanship of his local tonarigumi, or Neighbourhood 
Association, and to his other duties and concerns 
this position had added the business of organising 
air-raid defence for about twenty families. 

Before six o'clock that morning, Mr. Tanimoto 
started for Mr. Matsuo's house. There he found that 
their burden was to be a tansu, a large Japanese cabinet, 
full of clothing and household goods. The two mei^ 
set out, The morning was perfectly clear and so warm 
that the day promised to be uncomfortable. A few 
minutes after they started, the air raid siren went off * 
a minute-long blast that warned of approaching planes 
but indicated to the people of Hiroshima only a slight 



A NOISELESS FLASH 17 

degree of danger, * since it sounded every morning at 
this time, when an American weather plane came over. 
The two men pulled and pushed the handcart through 
the city streets. Hiroshima was a fan-shaped city, 
lying mostly on the six islands formed by the seven 
estuarial rivers that branch out from the Ota River; 
its main commercial and residential districts, covering 
about four square miles in the centre of the city, 
contained three-quarters of its population, which had 
been reduced by several evacuation programmes from a 
wartime peak of 380,000 to about 245,000. Factories 
and other residential districts, or suburbs, lay compactly 
around the edges of the city. To the south were the 
docks, an airport, and an island-studded Inland Sea. 
A rim of mountains runs around the other three sides 
of the delta. Mr. Tanimoto and Mr. Matsuo took 
their way through the shopping centre, already full of 
people, and across two of the rivers to the sloping 
streets of Koi, and up them to the outskirts and foot- 
hills. As they started up a valley away from the tight- 
ranked houses, the all-clear sounded. (The Japanese 
radar operators, detecting only three planes, supposed 
that they comprised a reconnaissance.) Pushing the 
handcart up to the raydn man's house* was tiring, 
and the men, after they had manoeuvred their load 
into the driveway and to the front steps, paused to 
rest awhile. They stood with a wing of the house 
between them and the city. Like most homes in this 
part of Japan, the house consisted of a wooden frame 
and wooden walls supporting a heavy tile roof. Its 
front hall, packed with rolls of bedding and clothing, 
looked like a cool cave full of fat cushions. Opposite 



18 HIROSHIMA 

the house, to the right of the front door, there was a 
large, finicky rock garden. There was no sound of 
planes. The morning was still; the place was cool 
and pleasant. 

Then a tremendous flash of light cut across the sky. 
Mr. Tanimoto has a distinct recollection that it travelled 
from east to west, from the city toward the hills. It 
seemed a sheet of sun. Both he and Mr. Matsuo 
reacted in terror and both had time to react (for they * 
were 3,500 yards, or two miles, from the centre of the 
explosion). Mr. Matsuo dashed up the front steps 
into the house and dived among the bedrolls and 
buried himself there. Mr. Tanimoto took four or 
five steps and threw himself between two big rocks in 
the garden. He bellied up very hard against one of 
them. As his face was against the stone he did not 
see what happened. He felt a sudden pressure, and 
then splinters and pieces of board and fragments of 
tile fell on him. He heard no roar. (Almost no one 
in Hiroshima recalls hearing any noise of the bomb. 
But a fisherman in his sampan on the Inland Sea near 
Tsuzu, the man with whom Mr. Tanimoto's mother-in- 
law and sister-in-law were living, saw the flash and 
heard a tremendous explosion; he was nearly twenty 
miles from Hiroshima, but the thunder was greater 
than when the B-29s hit Iwakuni, only five miles away,) 

When he dared, Mr. Tanimoto raised his head and 
saw that the rayon man's house had collapsed. He 
thou'ght a bomb had fallen directly on it. Such clouds 
of dust had risen that there was a sort of twilight 
around. In panic, not thinking for the moment of 
Mr. Matsuo under the ruins, he dashed out into the 



A NOISELESS FLASH 19 

street. He noticed as he ran that the concrete wall of 
the estate had fallen over toward the house rather 
than away from it. In the street, the first thing he 
saw was a squad of soldiers who had been burrowing 
into the hillside opposite, making one of the thousands 
of dugouts in which the Japanese apparently intended 
to resist invasion, hill by hill, life for life; the soldiers 
were coming out of the hole, where they should have 
been safe, and blood was running from their heads, 
chests and backs. They were silent and dazed. 

Under what seemed to be a local dust cloud, the day 
grew darker and darker. 

At nearly midnight, the night before the bomb was 
dropped, an announcer on the city's radio station said 
that about two hundred B-29s were approaching 
southern Honshti and advised the population of 
Hiroshima to evacuate to their designated " safe 
areas." Mrs. Hatsuyo Nakamura, the tailor's widow 
who lived in the section called Nobori-cho and who had 
long had a habit of doing as she was told, got her three 
children a ten-year-old boy, Toshio, an eight-year-old 
girl, Yaeko, and a five-year-old girl, Myeko out of 
bed and dressed them and walked with them to the 
military area known as the East Parade Ground, on 
the north-east edge of the city. There she unrolled 
some mats and the children lay down on them. They 
slept until about two* when they were awakened by the 
roar of the planes going over Hiroshima. As soon as 
the planes had passed, Mrs. Nakamura started back 
with her children. They reached home a little after 
two-thirty and she immediately turned 4 on the radio, 
which, to her distress, was just then broadcasting a 



20 HIROSHIMA 

fresh warning. When she looked at the children and 
saw how tired they were, and when she thought of the 
number of trips they had made in past weeks, all to no 
purpose, to the East Parade .Ground, she decided that 
in spite of the instructions on the radio, she simply 
could not face starting out all over again. She put 
the children in their bedrolls on the floor, lay down 
herself at three o'clock, and fell asleep at once, so 
soundly that when planes passed over later, she did 
not waken to their sound. 

The siren jarred her awake at about seven. She 
arose, dressed quickly, and hurried to the house of 
Mr. Nakamoto, the head of her Neighbourhood 
Association, and asked him what she should do. He 
said that she should remain at home unless an urgent 
warning a series of intermittent blasts of the siren 
was sounded. She returned home, lit the stove in the 
kitchen, set some rice to cook, and sat down to read 
that morning's Hiroshima Chugoku. To her relief, 
the all-clear sounded at eight o'clock. She heard the 
children stirring, so she went and gave each of them 
a handful of peanuts and told them to stay on their 
bedrolls, because they w&re tired from the night's 
walk. She had hoped that they would go back to 
sleep, but the man in the house directly to the south 
began to make a terrible hullabaloo of hammering, 
wedging, ripping, and splitting. The prefectural 
government, convinced, as everyone in Hiroshima was, 
that the city would be attacked soon, had began to 
press with threats and warnings for the completion 
of wide fire lanes, which, it' was hoped, might act in 
conjunction with the rivers to localise any fires started 



A NOISELESS FLASH 21 

by an incendiary raid ; and the neighbour was reluct- 
antly sacrificing his home to the city's safety. Just the 
day before, the prefecture had ordered all able-bodied 
girls from the secondary -schools to spend a few days 
helping to clear these lanes, and they started work soon 
after the all-clear sounded. 

Mrs. Nakamura went back to the kitchen, looked at 
the rice, and began watching the man next door. At 
first she was annoyed with him for making so much 
noise, but then she was moved almost to tears by 
pity. Her emotion was specifically directed toward 
her neighbour, tearing down his home, board by board, . 
at a time when there was so much unavoidable destruc- 
tion, but undoubtedly she also felt a generalised, 
community pity, to say nothing of self-pity. She had 
not had an easy time. Her husbarfd, Isawa, had gone 
into the army just after Myeko was born, and she had 
heard nothing from or of him for a long time, until, on 
March 5th, 1942, she received a seven-word telegram: 
"Isawa died an honourable death at Singapore." 
She learned later that he had died on February 15th, 
the day Singapore fell, and that he had been a corporal. 
Isawa had not been a particularly prosperous tailor, and 
his only capital was a Sankoku sewing machine. After 
his death, when his allotments stopped coming, Mrs. 
Nakamuru got out the machine and began to take in 
piecework herself, and since then had supported the 
children, but poorly, by sewing. 

As Mrs. Nakamura stood watching her neighbour, 
everything flashed whiter than any white she had ever 
seen. She did not notice what happened to the man 
next door; the reflex of a mother set her in motion 



22 HIROSHIMA 

toward her children. She had taken a single step 
(the house was 1,350 yards, or three-quarters of a mile, 
from the centre of the explosion) when something 
picked her up and she seemed to fly into the next room 
over the raised sleeping platform, pursued by parts of 
her house. 

Timbers fell around her as she landed, and a shower 
of tiles pommelled her; everything became dark, for she 
was buried. The debris did not cover her deeply. 
She rose up and freed herself. She heard a child 
cry, " Mother, help me ! " and saw her youngest 
Myeko, the five-year-old buried up to her breast and 
unable to move. As Mrs. Nakamura started frantically 
to claw her way toward the baby, she could see or hear 
nothing of her other children. 

In the days right before the bombing, Dr. Masakazu 
Fujii, being prosperous, hedonistic, and, at the time 
not too busy, had been allowing himself the luxury of 
sleeping until nine or nine-thirty, but fortunately he 
had to get up early the morning the bomb was dropped 
to see a house guest off on a train. He rose at six, 
and half an hour later walked with his friend to the 
station, not far away, across two of the rivers. He was 
back home by seven, just as the siren sounded its 
sustained warning. He ate breakfast and then, 
because the morning was already hot, undressed down 
to his underwear and went out on the porch to read 
the paper. This porch in fact, the whole building- 
was curiously constructed. Dr. Fujii was the proprietor 
of a peculiarly Japanese institution, a private, single- 
doctor hospital. This building, perched beside and 
over the water of the Kyo River, and next to the bridge 



A NOISELESS FLASH 23 

of the same name, contained thirty rooms for thirty 
patients and their kinsfolk for, according to Japanese 
custom, when a person falls sick and goes to a hospital, 
one or more members of his family go and live there 
with him, to cook for him, bathe, massage, and read 
to him, and to offer incessant familial sympathy, 
without which a Japanese patient would be miserable 
indeed. Dr. Fujii had no beds only straw mats for 
his patients. He did, however, have all sorts of modern 
equipment: an X-ray machine, diathermy apparatus, 
and a fine tiled laboratory. The structure rested 
two-thirds on the land, one-third on piles over the 
tidal waters of the Kyo. This overhang, the part of 
the building where Dr. Fujii lived, was queer-looking, but 
it was cool in summer and from the porch, which 
faced away from the centfe of the city, the prospect 
of the river, with pleasure boats drifting up and down it, 
was always refreshing. Dr. Fujii had occasionally had 
anxious moments when the Ota and its mouth branches 
rose to flood, but the piling was apparently firm enough 
and the house had always held. 

Dr. Fujii had been relatively idle for about a month 
because in July, as the number of untouched cities in 
Japan dwindled and as Hiroshima seemed more and 
more inevitably a target, he began turning patients 
away, on the ground that in case of a fire raid he would 
not be able to evacuate them. Now he had only two 
patients left a woman from Yano, injured in the 
shoulder, and a young man of twenty-five recovering 
from burns he had suffered when the steel factory near 
Hiroshima in which he worked had been hit. Dr. 
Fujii had six nurses to tend his patients. His wife and 



24 HIROSHIMA 

children were safe; his wife and one son were living 
outside Osaka, and another son and two daughters 
were in the country on Kyushu. A niece was living 
with him, and a maid and a manservant. He had little 
to do and did not mind, for he had saved some money. 
At fifty he was healthy, convivial, and calm, and he was 
pleased to pass the evenings drinking whisky with 
friends, always sensibly and for the sake of conversa- 
tion. Before the war, he had affected brands imported 
from Scotland and America; now he was perfectly 
satisfied with the best Japanese brand, Suntory. 

Dr. Fujii sat down cross-legged in his underwear on 
the spotless matting of the porch, put on his glasses, 
and started reading the Osaka Asahi. He liked to read 
the Osaka news because his wife was there. He saw 
the flash. To him faced away from the centre and 
looking at his paper it seemed a brilliant yellow. 
Startled, he began to rise to his feet. In that moment 
(he was 1,550 yards from the centre), the hospital leaned 
behind his rising and, with a terrible ripping noise, 
toppled into the river. The Doctor, still in the act of 
getting to his feet, was thrown forward and around and 
over; he was buffetted and gripped; he lost track of 
everything, because things were so speeded up ; he felt 
the water. 

Dr. Fujii hardly had time to think that he was dying 
before he realized that he was alive, squeezed tightly 
by two long timbers in a V across his chest, like a 
morsel suspended between two huge chopsticksheld 
upright, so that he could not move, with his head 
miraculously above water and his torso and legs in it 
The remains of his hospital were all around him in a 



A NOISELESS FLASH 25 

mad assortment of splintered lumber and materials for 
the relief of pain. His left shoulder hurt terribly. His 
glasses were gone. 

Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge, of the Society of Jesus, 
was, on the morning of the explosion, in rather frail 
condition. The Japanese war-time diet had not sus- 
tained him, and he felt the strain of being a foreigner 
in an increasingly xenophobic Japan ; even a German, 
since the defeat of the Fatherland, was unpopular. 
Father Kleinsorge had, at thirty-eight, the look of a 
boy growing too fast thin in the face, with a prominent 
Adam's apple, a hollow chest, dangling hands, big feet. 
'He walked clumsily, leaning forward a little. He was 
tired all the time. To make matters worse, he had 
suffered for two^ days, along with Father Cieslik, a 
fellow-priest, from a rather painful and urgent 
diarrhoea, which they blamed on the beans and black 
ration bread they were obliged to eat. Two other 
priests then living in the mission compound, which 
was in the Nobori-cho section Father Superior LaSalle 
and Father Schifier had happily escaped this affliction. 

Father Kleinsorge woke up about six the morning 
the bomb was dropped, and half-an-hour later he was 
a bit tardy because of his sickness he began to read 
Mass in the mission chapel, a small Japanese-style 
wooden building which was without pews, since its 
worshippers knelt on the usual Japanese matted floor, 
facing an altar graced with splendid silks, brass, silver, 
and heavy embroideries. This morning, a Monday, 
the only worshippers were Mr. Takemoto, a theological 
student living in the mission house; Mr. Fukai, the 
secretary of the diocese; Mrs. Murata, the mission's 



26 HIROSHIMA 

devoutly Christian housekeeper ; and his fellow-priests. 
After Mass, while Father Kleinsorge was reading the 
Prayers of Thanksgiving, the siren sounded. He stopped 
th6 service and the missionaries retired across the 
compound to the bigger building. There, in his room 
on the ground floor, to the right of the front door, 
Father Kleinsorge changed into a military liniform 
which he had acquired when he was teaching at the 
Rokko Middle School in Kobe and which he wore 
during air-raid alerts. 

After an alarm, Father Kleinsorge always went out 
and scanned the sky, and this time, when he stepped 
outside, he was glad to see only the single weather 
plane that flew over Hiroshima each day about this 
time. Satisfied that nothing would happen, he went in 
and breakfasted with the other Fathers on substitute 
coffee and ration bread, which, under the circumstances, 
was especially repugnant to him. The Fathers sat and 
talked a whiJe, until, at eight, they heard the all-clear. 
They went then to various parts of the building. 
Father Schiffcr retired to his room to do some writing. 
Father Cieslik sat in his room in a straight chair with 
a pillow over his stomach to ease his pain, and read. 
Father Superior LaSalle stood at the window of his 
room, thinking. Father Kleinsorge went up to a room 
on the third floor, took off all his clothes except his 
underwear, and stretched out on his right side on a 
cot and began reading his Stimmen der Zeit. 

After the terrible flash which, Father Kleinsorge 
later realized, reminded him of something he had read 
as a boy about a large meteor colliding with the earth 
he bad time (since he was 1,400 yards from the 



A NOISELESS FLASH 27 

centre) for one thought: A bomb has fallen directly 
on us. Then, for a few seconds or minutes, he went 
out of his mind. 

Father Kleinsorge never knew how he got out of 
the hbuse. " The next things he was conscious of were 
that he was wandering around in the mission's vege- 
table garden in his underwear, bleeding slightly from 
small cuts along his left flank; that all the buildings 
round about had fallen down except the Jesuits' 
mission house, which had long before been braced 
and double-braced by a priest named Gropper, who 
was terrified of earthquakes ; that the day had turned 
dark; and that Murata-sa/i, the housekeeper, was 
near by, crying over and over, " Shu Jesusu, awaremi 
tamai I Our Lord Jesus, have pity on us !" 

On the train on the way into Hiroshima from the 
country, where he lived with his mother, Dr. Terufumi 
Sasaki, the Red Cross Hospital surgeon, thought over 
an unpleasant nightmare he had had the night before. 
His mother's horrife was in Mukaihara, thirty miles 
from the city, and it took him two hours by train and 
tram to reach the hospital. He had slept uneasily all 
night and had wakened an hour earlier than usual, 
and, feeling sluggish and slightly feverish, had debated 
whether to go to the hospital at all ;his sense of duty 
finally forced him to go, and he had started out on an 
earlier train than he took most mornings. The dream 
had particularly frightened him because it was so 
closely associated, on the surface at least, with a dis- 
turbing actuality. He was only twenty-five years old 
and had just completed his training at the Eastern 
Medical University, in Tsingtao, China. He was some- 



28 HIROSHIMA 

thing of an idealist and was much distressed by the 
inadequacy of medical facilities in the country town 
where his mother lived. Quite on his own, and without 
a permit, he had begun visiting a few sick people out 
there in the evenings, after his eight hours at the 
hospital and four hours' commuting. He had recently 
learned that the penalty for practising without a 
permit was severe; a fellow-doctor whom he had asked 
about it had given him a serious scolding. Nevertheless, 
he had continued to practise. In his dream, he had 
been at the bedside of a country patient when the 
police and the doctor he had consulted burst into the 
room, seized him, dragged him outside, and beat him 
up cruelly. On the train, he just about decided to give 
up the work in Mukaihara7 since he felt it would be 
impossible to get a permit, because the authorities 
would hold that it would conflict with his duties at 
the Red Cross Hospital. 

At the terminus, he caught a street-car at once. (He 
later calculated that if he had taken his customary 
train that morning, and if he had had to wait a few 
minutes for the street-car, as often happened, he would 
have been close to the centre at the time of the explosion 
and would surely have perished.) He arrived at the 
hospital at seven-forty and reported to the chief 
surgeon. A few minutes later, he went to a room on 
the first floor and drew blopd from the arm off a man 
in order to perforjn a Wassermann test. The laboratory 
containing the incubators for the test was on the third 
floor. With the blood specimen in his left hand, 
walking in a kind of distraction he had felt all morning, 
probably because of the dream and his restless night, 



A NOISELESS FLASH 29 

he started along the main corridor on his way toward 
the stairs. He was one step beyond an open window 
when the light of the bomb was reflected, like a gigantic 
photographic flash, in the corridor. He ducked down 
on one knee and said to himself, as only a Japanese 
would, " Sasaki, gambare / Be brave !" Just then 
(the building was 1,650 yards from the centre), the 
blast ripped through the hospital. The glasses he was 
wearing flew off his face; the bottle of blood crashed 
against one wall ; his Japanese slippers zipped out from 
under his feet but otherwise, thanks to where he 
stood, he was untouched. 

Dr. Sasaki shouted the name of the chief surgeon 
and rushed around to the man's office and found him 
terribly cut by glass. The hospital was in horrible 
confusion : heavy partitions and ceilings had fallen on 
patients, beds had overturned, windows had blown in 
and cut people, blood was spattered on the walls and 
floors, instruments were everywhere, many of the 
patients were running about screaming, many more 
lay dead. (A colleague working in the laboratory to 
which Dr. Sasaki had been walking was dead; Dr. 
Sasaki's patient, whom he had just left and who a few 
moments before had been dreadfully afraid of syphilis, 
was also dead.) Dr. Sasaki found himself the only 
doctor in the hospital who was unhurt. 

Dr. Sasaki, who believed that the enemy had hit 
only the building he was in, got bandages and began 
to bind the wounds of those inside the hospital ; while 
outside, all over Hiroshima, maimed and dying 
citizens turned their unsteady steps toward the Red 
Cross Hospital to begin an invasion that was to make 



30 HIROSHIMA 

Dr. Sasaki forget his private nightmare for a long, 
long time. 

Miss Toshiko Sasaki, the East Asia Tin Works 
clerk, who is not related to Dr. Sasaki, got up at three 
o'clock in the morning on the day the bomb fell. 
There was extra housework to do. Her eleven-month- 
old brother, Akio, had come down the day before with 
a serious stomach upset; her mother had taken him 
to the Tamura Pcdiatric Hospital and was staying there 
with him. Miss Sasaki, who was about twenty, had to 
cook breakfast for her father, a brother, a sister, and 
herself, and since the hospital, because of the war, 
was unable to provide food to prepare a whole day's 
meals TFor her mother and the baby, in time for her 
father, who worked in a factory making rubber ear- 
plugs for artillery crews, to take the food by on his 
way to the plant. When she had finished and had 
cleaned and put away the cooking things, it was nearly 
seven. The family lived in Koi, and she had a forty- 
five-minute trip to the tin works, in the section of town 
called Kannon-machi. She was in charge of the 
personnel records in the factory. She left Koi at seven, 
and as soon as she reached the plant, she went with 
some of the other girls from the personnel department 
to the factory auditorium. A prominent local Navy 
man, a former employee, had committed suicide the 
day before by throwing himself under a train a death 
considered honourable enough to warrant a memorial 
service, which was to be held at the tin works at ten 
o'clock that morning. In the large hall, Miss Salaki 
and the others made suitable preparations for the 
meeting. This work took about twenty minutes. 



A NOISELESS FLASH 31 

Miss Sasaki went back to her office and sat down at 
her desk. She was quite far from the windows, which 
were off to her left, and behind her were.-a couple of 
tall bookcases containing all the books of the factory 
library, which the personnel department had organized. 
She settled herself at her desk, put some things in a 
drawer, and shifted papers. She thought that before 
she began to make entries in her lists of new employees, 
discharges, and departures for the Army, she would 
chat for a moment with the girl at her right. Just as 
she turned her head away from the windows, the room 
was filled with a blinding light. She was paralyzed by 
fear, fixed still in her chair for a long moment (the 
plant was 1,600 yards from the centre). 

Everything fell, and Miss Sasaki lost consciousness. 
The ceiling dropped suddenly and the wooden floor 
above collapsed in splinters and the people up there 
came down and the roof above them gave way ; but 
principally and first of all, the bookcases right behind 
her swooped forward and the contents threw her down, 
with her left leg horribly twisted and breaking under- 
neath her. There, in the tin factory, in the first moment 
ofjihe atomic age, a human being was crushed by 
~books. 



II 

THE FIRE 

IMMEDIATELY after the explosion, the Reverend Mr. 
Kiyoshi Tanimoto, having run wildly out of the 
Matsui estate and having looked in wonderment at 
the bloody soldiers at the mouth of the dugout they 
had been digging, attached himself sympathetically to 
an old lady who was walking along in a daze, holding 
her had with her left hand, supporting a small boy of 
three or four on her back with her right, and crying, 
" I'm hurt ! I'm hurt ! I'm hurt !" Mr. Tanimoto 
transferred the child to his own back and led the 
woman by the hand down the street, which was 
darkened by what seemed to be a local column of dust. 
He took the woman to a grammar school not far away 
that had previously been designated for use as a 
temporary hospital in' case of emergency. By this 
solicitous behaviour, Mr. Tanimoto at once got rid 
of his terror. At the school, he was much surprised to 
see glass all over the floor and fifty or sixty injured 
people already waiting to be treated. He reflected that, 
although the all-clear had sounded and he had heard 
no planes, several bombs must have been dropped. 
He thought of a hillock in the rayon man's garden 
from which he could get a view of the whole of Koi 
of the whole of Hiroshima, for that matterand he 
ran back up to the estate. 

From the mound, Mr. Tanimoto saw an astonishing 
panorama. Not just a patch of Koi, as he had expected, 
but as much of Hiroshima as he could see through the 
clouded air was giving off a thick, dreadful miasma. 



'THE FIRE 33 

Clumps of smoke, near and tar, had begun to push 
up through the general dust. He wondered how such 
extensive damage could have been dealt out of a silent 
sky ; even a few planes, far 3 up, would have been 
audible. Houses nearby were burning, and when huge 
drops of water 'the size of marbles began to fall, he 
half thought that they must be coming from the hoses 
of firemen fighting the blazes. (They were actually 
drops of condensed moisture falling from the turbulent 
tower of dust, heat, and fission fragments, that had 
already risen miles into the sky above Hiroshima.) 

Mr. Tanimoto turned away from the sight when he 
heard Mr. Matsuo call out to ask whether he was all 
right. Mr. Matsuo had been safely cushioned within 
the falling house by the bedding stored in the front hall 
and had worked his way out. Mr. Tanimoto scarcely 
answered. He had thought of his wife and baby, his 
church, his home, his parishioners, all of them down 
in that awful murk. Once more he began to run in 
fear toward the city. 

Mrs. Hatsuyo Nakamura, the tailor's widow, having 
struggled up from under the ruins of her house after 
the explosion, and seeing Myeko, the youngest of her 
three children, buried breast-deep and unable to move, 
crawled across the debris, hauled at timbers, and flung 
tiles aside, in a hurried effort to free the child. Then, 
from what seemed to be caverns far below, she heard 
two small voices crying, " Tasukete ! Tasukete I 
"Help! Help!" 

She called the names of her ten-year-old son and 
eight-year-old daughter: "Toshio i Yaeko 1" 

The voices from below answered. 



34 . HIROSHIMA 

Mrs. Nakamura abandoned Myeko, who at least 
could breathe, and in a frenzy made the wreckage fly 
above the crying voices. The children had been sleeping 
nearly ten feet apart, but now their voices seemed to 
come from the same place. Toshio, the boy, apparently 
had some freedom to move, because she could feel 
him undermining the pile of wood and tiles as she 
worked from above. At last she saw his head, and she 
hastily pulled him out by it. A mosquito net was 
wound intricately, as if it had been carefully wrapped, 
around his feet. He said he had been blown right 
across the room and had been on top of his sister, 
Yaeko under the wreckage. She now said, from under- 
neath, that she could not move, because there was 
something on her legs. With a bit more digging, 
Mrs. Nakamura cleared a hole above the child and 
began to pull her arm. " Itai I It hurts !" Yaeko 
cried. Mrs. Nakamura shouted, " There's no time now 
to say whether it hurts or not," and yanked her whim- 
pering daughter up. Then she freed Myeko. The 
children were filthy and bruised, but none of them had 
a single cut or scratch. 

Mrs. Nakamura took the children out into the 
street. They had nothing on but underpants, and 
although the day was very hot, she worried rather 
confusedly about their being cold, so she went back 
into the wreckage and burrowed underneath and found 
a bundle of clothes she had packed for an emergency, 
and she dressed them in pants, blouses, shoes a padded- 
cotton air-raid helmets called bokuzuki, and even, 
irrationally, overcoats. The children were silent^ except 
for the five-year-old, Myeko, who kept asking questions : 



THE FIRE 35 

" Why is it night already ? Why did our house fall 
down ? What happened ?" Mrs. Nakamura, who did 
not know what had happened (had not the all-clear 
sounded ?), looked around and saw through the dark- 
ness that all the houses in her neighbourhood had 
collapsed. The house next door, which its owner had 
been tearing down to make way for a fire lane, was now 
very thoroughly, if crudely, torn down; its owner, 
who had been sacrificing his home for the community's 
safety, lay dead. Mrs. Nakamoto, wife of the head of 
the local air-raid defence Neighbourhood Association, 
came across the street with her head all bloody, and 
said that her baby was badly cut ; did Mrs. Nakamura 
have any bandage ? Mrs. Nakamura did not, but she 
crawled into the remains of her house again and pulled 
out some white cloth that she had been using in her 
work as a seamstress, ripped it into strips, and gave 
it to Mrs. Nakamoto. While fetching the cloth, she 
noticed her sewing machine; she went back in for it 
and dragged it out. Obviously, she could not carry 
it with her, so she unthinkingly plunged her symbol 
of livelihood into the receptacle which for weeks had 
been her symbol of safety the cement tank of water 
in front of her house, of the type every household had 
been ordered to construct against a possible fire raid. 
A nervous neighbour, Mrs. Hataya, called to Mrs. 
Nakamura to run away with herjo the woods in Asano 
Park an estate by the Kyo River not far off, belonging 
to the wealthy Asano family/ who once owned the 
Toyo Kisen Kaisha steamship line. The park had been 
designated as an evacuation area for their neighbour- 
hood. Seeing fire breaking out in a nearby ruin (except 



36 HIROSHIMA 

at the very centre, where the bomb itself ignited some 
fires, most of Hiroshima's citywide conflagration was 
caused by inflammable wreckage falling on cook- 
stoves and live wires), Mrs. Nakamura suggested going 
over to fight it. Mrs. Hataya said, " Don't be foolish. 
What if planes come and drop more bombs ?" So 
Mrs. Nakamura started out for Asano Park with her 
children and Mrs. Hataya, and she carried her ruck- 
sack of emergency clothing, a blanket, an umbrella, 
and a suitcase of things she had cached in her air-raid 
shelter. Under many ruins, as they hurried along, they 
heard muffled screams for help. The only building 
they saw standing on their way to Asano Park was the 
Jesuit mission house, alongside the Catholic kinder- 
garten to which Mrs. Nakamura had sent Myeko for 
a time. As they passed it, she saw Father Kleinsorge, 
in bloody underwear, running out of the house with 
a small suitcase in his hand. 

Right after the explosion, while Father Wilhelm 
Kleinsorge, S. J., was wandering around in his under- 
wear in the vegetable garden, Father Superior LaSalle 
came around the corner of the building in the darkness. 
His body, especially his back, was bloody; the flash' 
had made him twist away from his window, and tiny 
pieces of glass had flown at him. Father Kleinsorge, 
still bewildered, managed to ask, " Where are the rest ?" 
Just then, the two other priests living in the mission 
house appearedFather Cieslik, unhurt, supporting 
Father Schifier, who was covered with blood that 
spurted from a cut above his left ear and who was 
very pale. Father Cieslik was rather pleased with 
himself, for after the flash he, had dived into a doorway, 



THE FIRE 37 

which he had previously reckoned to be the safest 
place inside the building, and when the blast came, he 
was not injured. Father LaSalle told Father Cieslik to 
take Father Schiffer to a doctor before he bled to death, 
and suggested either Dr. Kanda, who lived on the next 
corner, or Dr. Fujii, about six blocks away. The two 
men went out of the compound and up the street. 

The daughter of Mr. Hoshijima, the mission catechist, 
ran up to Father Kleinsorge and said that her mother 
and sister were buried under the ruins of their house, 
which was at the back of the Jesuit compound, and at 
the same time the priests noticed that the house of the 
Catholic-kindergarten teacher at the foot of the com- 
pound had collapsed on her. While Father LaSalle 
and Mrs. Murata, the mission housekeeper, dug the 
teacher out, Father Kleinsorge went to the catechist's 
fallen house and began lifting things off the top of 
the pile. There was not a sound underneath ; he was 
sure the Hoshijima women had been killed. At last, 
under what had been a corner of the kitchen, he saw 
Mrs. Hoshijima's head. Believing her dead, he began 
to haul her out by the hair, but suddenly she screamed, 
" Itai ! Itai / It hurts ! It hurts !" He dug some 
more and lifted her out. He managed, too, to find her 
daughter in the rubble and free her. Neither was 
badly hurt. 

A public bath next door to the mission house had 
caught fire, but since there the wind was southerly, 
the priests thought their house would be spared. 
Nevertheless, as a precaution, Father Kleinsorge went 
inside to fetch some things he wanted to save. He 
found his room in a state of weird and illogical con- 



38 HIROSHIMA 

fusion. A first-aid kit was hanging undisturbed on a 
hook on the wall, but his clothes, which had been on 
other hooks nearby, were nowhere to be seen. His 
desk was in splinters all over the room, but a mere 
papier-mache suitcase, which he had hidden under the 
desk, stood handle-side up, without a scratch on it, 
in the doorway of the room, where he could not miss 
it. Father Kleinsorge later came to regard this as a 
bit of Providential interference, inasmuch as the suit- 
case contained his breviary, the account books for the 
whole diocese, and a considerable amount of paper 
money belonging to the mission, for which he was 
responsible. He ran out of the house and deposited 
the suitcase in the mission air-raid shelter. 

At about this time, Father Cieslik and Father 
Schiffer, who was still spurting blood, came back and 
said that Dr. Kanda's house was ruined and that fire 
blocked them from getting out of what they supposed 
to be the local circle of destruction to Dr. Fujii's 
private hospital, on the bank of the Kyo River. 

Dr. MasaKazu Fujii's hospital was no longer on the 
bank of the Kyo River; it was in the river. After 
the overturn, Dr. Fujii was so stupefied and so tightly 
squeezed by the beams gripping his chest that he was 
unajble to move at first, and he hung there about 
twenty minutes in the darkened morning. Then a 
thought which came to him that soon the tide would 
be running in through the estuaries and his head would 
be submerged inspired him to fearful activity; he 
wriggled and turned and exerted what strength he 
could (though his left arm, because of the pain in his 
shoulder, was useless), and before long he had freed 



THE FIRE 39 

himself from the vice. After a few moments' rest, he 
climbed on to the pile of timbers and, finding a long 
one that slanted up to the river bank, he painfully 
shinnied up it. c 

Dr. Fujii, who was in his underwear, was now 
soaking and dirty. His undershirt was torn, and blood 
ran down it from bad cuts on his chin and back. In 
this disarray, he walked out onto Kyo Bridge, beside 
which his hospital had stood. The bridge had not 
collapsed. He could see only fuzzily without his 
glasses, but he could see enough to be amazed at 
the number of houses that were down all around. On 
the bridge, he encountered a friend, a doctor named 
Machii, and asked in bewilderment, "What do you 
think it was?" 

Dr. Machii said, " It must have been a Molotoffano 
hanakago" a Molotov flower basket, the delicate 
Japanese name for the " bread basket," or self- 
scattering cluster of bombs. 

At first, Dr. Fujii could se^only two fires, one across 
the river from his hospital site and one quite far to 
the south. 'But at the same time, he and his friend 
observed something that puzzled them, and which, as 
doctors, they discussed: although there were as yet 
very few fires, wounded people were hurrying across 
the bridge in an endless parade of misery, and many 
of them exhibited terrible burns on their faces and 
arms. " Why do you suppose it is ?" Dr. Fujii asked. 
Even a theory was comforting that day, and Dr. Machii 
stuck to his. "Perhaps because it was a Molotov 
flower basket," he said. 

There had been no breeze earlier in the morning 



40 HIROSHIMA 

when Dr. Fujii had walked to the railway station to 
see a friend off, but now brisk winds were blowing 
every which way; here on the bridge the wind was 
easterly. New fires were leaping up, and they spread 
quickly, and in a very short time terrible blasts of hot 
air and showers of cinders made it impossible to stand 
on the bridge any more. Dr. Machii ran to the far 
side of the river and along a still unkindled street. 
Dr. Fujii went down into the water under the bridge, 
where a score of people had already taken refuge, 
among them his servants, who had extricated them- 
selves from the wreckage. From there, Dr. Fujii saw 
a nurse hanging in the timbers of his hospital by her 
legs, and then another painfully pinned across the 
breast. He enlisted the help of some of the others 
under the bridge and freed both of them. He thought 
he heard the voice of his niece for a moment, but he 
could not find her; he never saw her again. Four 
of his nurses and the two patients in the hospital died, 
too. Dr. Fujii went ba^Jt into the water of the river 
and waited for the fire to subside. 

The lot of Drs. Fujii, Kanda, and Machii right after 
the explosion and, as these three were typical, that 
of the majority of the physicians and surgeons of 
Hiroshima with their offices and hospitals destroyed, 
their equipment scattered, their own bodies incapaci- 
tated in varying degrees, explained why so many citizens 
who were hurt went untended and why so many who 
might have lived died. Of a hundred and fifty doctors" 
in the city, sixty-five were already dead and most of 
the rest were wounded. Of 1,789 nurses, 1,654 were 
dead or too badly hurt to work. In the biggest hospital, 



THE FIRE 41 

that of the Red Cross, only six doctors out of thirty 
were able to function, and only ten nurses out of more 
than two hundred. The sole uninjured doctor on the 
Red Cross Hospital staff was Dr. Sasaki. After the 
explosion, he hurried to a storeroom to fetch bandages. 
This room, like everything he had seen as he ran 
through the hospital, was chaotic bottles of medicines 
thrown off shelves and broken, salves spattered on 
the walls, instruments strewn everywhere. He grabbed 
up some bandages and an unbroken bottle of mercuro- 
chrome, hurried back to the chief surgeon, and 
bandaged his cuts. Then he went out into the corridor 
and began patching up the wounded patients and the 
doctors and nurses there. He blundered so without 
his glasses that he took a pair off the face of a wounded 
nurse, and although they only approximately com- 
pensated for the errors of his vision, they were better 
than "nothing. (He was to depend on them for more 
than a month.) 

Dr. Sasaki worked without method, taking* those 
who were nearest him first, and he noticed soon that 
the corridor seemed to be getting more and more 
crowded. Mixed in with the abrasions and lacerations 
which most people in the hospital had suffered, he 
began to find dreadful burns. He realized then that 
casualties were pouring in from outdoors. There were 
so many that he began to pass up the tightly wounded ; 
he decided that all he could hope to do was to stop 
people from bleeding to death. Before long, patients 
lay and croucjied on the floors of the wards and the 
laboratories and all the other rooms, and in the 
corridors, and on the stairs, and in the front hall, and 



42 HIROSHIMA 

under the porte-cochere, and on the stone front steps, 
and in the driveway and courtyard, and for blocks 
each way in the streets outside. Wounded people 
supported maimed people; disfigured families leaned 
together. Many people were vomiting. A tremendous 
number of schoolgirls some of those who had been 
taken from their classrooms to work outdoors, clearing 
fire Ian6s crept into the hospital. In a city of two 
hundred and forty-five thousand, nearly a hundred 
thousand people had been killed or doomed at one 
blow; a hundred thousand more were hurt. At least 
ten thousand of the wounded made their way to the 
best hospital in town, which was altogether unequal to 
such a trampling, since it had only six hundred beds, 
and they had all been occupied. The people in the 
suffocating crowd inside the hospital wept and cried, 
for Dr. Sasaki to hear, " Sensei ! Doctor 1" and the 
less seriously wounded came and pulled at his*sleeve 
and begged him to come to the aid of the worse 
wounded. Tugged here and there in his stockinged 
feet, bewildered by the numbers, staggered by so much 
raw flesh, Dr. Sasaki lost all sense of profession and 
stopped working as a skilful surgeon and a sympathetic 
man ; he became an automaton, mechanically wiping, 
daubing, winding, wiping, daubing, winding. 

Some of the wounded in Hiroshima were unable to 
enjoy the questionable luxury of hospitalisation. In 
what had been the personnel office of the East Asia 
Tin Works, Miss Sasaki lay doubled over, unconscious, 
under the tremendous pile of books and plaster and 
wood and corrugated iron. She was wholly unconscious 
(she later estimated) for about three hours. Her first 



THE FIRE 43 

sensation was of dreadful pain in her left leg. It was 
so black under the books and debris that the borderline 
between awareness and unconsciousness was fine; 
she apparently crossed it several times, for the pain 
seemed to come and go. At the moments when it was 
sharpest, she felt that her leg had been cut off some- 
where below the knee. Later, she heard someone 
walking on top of the wreckage above her, and 
anguished voices spoke up, evidently from within the 
mess around her: " Please help ! Get us out !" 

Father Kleinsorge stemmed Father Schiffer's spurting 
cut as well as he could with some bandage that Dr. 
Fujii had given the priests a few days before. When 
he finished, he ran into the mission house again and 
found the jacket of his military uniform and an old 
pair of grey trousers. He put them on and went 
outside. A woman from next door ran up to him and 
shouted that her husband was buried under her house 
and the house was on fire; Father Kleinsorge must 
come and save him. 

Father Kleinsorge, already growing apathetic and 
dazed in the presence of the cumulative distress, said, 
"We haven't much time." Houses all around were 
burning, and the wind was now blowing hard. " Do 
you know exactly which part of the house he is under ?" 
he asked. 

" Yes, yes," she said. " Come quickly." 

They went around to the house, the remains of 
which blazed violently, but when they got there, it 
turned out that the woman had no idea where her 
husband was. Father Kleinsorge shouted several 
times, "Is anyone there?" There was no answer. 



44 HIROSHIMA 

Father Kleinsorge said to the woman, " We must get 
away or we will all die." He went back to the Catholic 
compound and told the Father Superior that the fire 
was coming closer on the wind, which had swung 
around and was now from the north ; it was time for 
everybody to go. 

Just then, the kindergarten teacher pointed out to 
the priests Mr. Fukai, the secretary of the diocese,, who 
was standing in his window on the second floor of the 
mission house, facing in the direction of the explosion, 
weeping. Father Cieslik, because he thought the stairs 
unusable, ran around to the back of the mission hcfuse 
to look for a ladder. There he heard people crying for 
help under a-nearby fallen roof. He called to passers-by 
running away in the street to help him lift it, but 
nobody paid any attention, and he had to leave the 
buried ones to die. Father Kleinsorge ran inside the 
mission house and scrambled up the stairs, which were 
awry and piled with plaster and lathing, and called 
to Mr. Fukai from the doorway of his room. 

Mr. Fukai, a very short man of about fifty, turned 
around slowly, with a queer look, and said, " Leave 
me here.*' 

Father Kleinsorge went into the room and took 
Mr. Fukai by the collar of his coat and said, " Come 
with me or you'll die." 

Mr. Fukai said, " Leave me here to die." 

Father Kleinsorge began to shove and haul Mr. 
Fukai out of the room. Then the theological student 
came up and grabbed Mr. Fukai's feet, and Father 
Kleinsorge took his shoulders, and together they 
carried him downstairs and outdoors. " I can't walk 1" 



THE FIRE 45 

Mr. Fukai cried. " Leave me here !" Father Kleinsorge 
got his paper suitcase with the money in it and took 
Mr. Fukai up pick-a-back, and the party started for 
the East Parade Ground, their district's " safe a<rea." 
As they went out of the gate, Mr. Fukai, quite child- 
like now, beat on Father Kleinsorge's shoulders a,nd 
said, " I won't leave. I won't leave." Irrelevantly, 
Father Kleinsorge turned to Father LaSalle and said, 
" We have lost all our possessions but not our sense 
of humour." 

The street was cluttered with parts t>f houses that 
had slid into it, and with fallen telephone poles and 
wires. From every second or third house came the 
voices of people buried and abandoned, who invariably 
screamed, with formal politeness, " Tasukete kure ! 
Help, if you please !" The priests recognised several 
ruins from which these cries came as the homes of 
friends, but because of the fire it was too late to help. 
All the way, Mr. Fukai whimpered, " Let me stay." 
The party turned right when they came to a block of 
fallen houses that was one flame. At Sakai Bridge, 
which would take them across to the East Parade 
Ground, they saw that the whole community on the 
opposite side of the river was a sheet of fire; they 
dared not cross and decided to take refuge in Asano 
Park, off to their left. Father Kleinsorge, who had 
been weakened for a couple of days by his bad case 
of diarrhoea, began to stagger under his protesting 
burden, and as he tried to climb up over the wreckage 
of several houses that blocked their way to the park, 
he stumbled, dropped Mr. Fukai, and plunged down, 
head over heels, to the edge of the river. When he 



46 HIROSHIMA 

picked himself up, he saw Mr. Fukai running away. 
Father Kleinsorge shouted to a dozen soldiers, who 
were standing by the bridge, to stop him. As Father 
Kleinsorge started back to get Mr. Fukai, Father 
L^Salle called out, " Hurry ! Don't waste time I" So 
Father Kleinsorge just requested the soldiers to take 
care of Mr. Fukai. They said they would, but the 
little, broken man got away from them, and the last 
the priests could see of him, he was running back 
toward the fire. 

Mr. Tanimoto, fearful for his family and church, 
at first ran toward them by the shortest route, along 
Koi Highway. He was the only person making his 
way into the city ; Jjje met hundreds and hundreds who 
were fleeing, and every one of them seemed to be 
hurt in some way. The eyebrows of some were burned 
off and skin hung from their faces and hands. Others, 
because of pafti, held their arms up as if carrying 
something in both hands. Some were vomiting as they 
walked. Many were naked or in shreds of clothing. 
On some undressed bodies, the burns had made 
patterns of undershirt straps and suspenders and, on 
the skin of some women (since white repelled the heat 
from the bomb and dark clothes absorbed it and 
conducted it to the skin), the shapes of flowers they 
had had on their kimonos. Many, although injured 
themselves, supported relatives who were worse off. 
Almost all had their heads bowed, looked straight 
ahead, were silent, and showed no expression what- 
ever. , 

After crossing Koi Bridge and Kannon Bridge, 
having run the whole way, Mr. Tanimoto saw, as he 



THE FIRE 47 

approached the centre, that all the houses had been 
crushed and many were afire. Here the trees were 
bare and their trunks were charred. He tried at several 
points to penetrate the ruins, but the flames always 
stopped him. Under many houses, people screamed 
for help, but no one helped ; in general, survivors that 
day assisted only their relatives or immediate neigh- 
bours, for they could not comprehend or tolerate a 
wider circle of misery. The wounded limped past the 
screams, and Mr. Tanimoto ran past them. As a 
Christian he was filled with compassion for those who 
were trapped, and as a Japanese he was overwhelmed 
by the shame of being unhurt, and he prayed as he 
ran, " God help them and take them out of the fire." 
He thought he would skirt the fire, to the left. He 
ran back to Kannon Bridge and followed for a distance 
one of the rivers. He tried several cross streets, but all 
were blocked, so he turned far left and ran out to 
Yokogawa, a station on a railroad line that detoured 
the city in a wide semi-circle, and he followed the rails 
until he came to a burning train. So impressed was he 
by this time by the extent of the damage that he ran 
north two miles to Gion, a suburb in the foothills. 
All the way, he overtook dreadfully burned and 
lacerated people, and in his guilt he turned to right 
and left as he hurried and said to some of them, 
" Excuse me for having no burden like yours." Near 
Gion, he began to meet country people going toward 
the city to help, and when they saw him, several 
exclaimed, " Look ! There is one who is not wounded." 
At Gion, he bore toward the right bank of the main 
river, the Ota, and ran down it until he reached fire 



48 HIROSHIMA 

again. There was no fire on the other side of the river, 
so he threw off his shirt and shoes and plunged into it. 
!n midstream, where the current was fairly strong, 
exhaustion and fear finally caught up with him he had 
run nearly seven miles and he became limp and drifted 
in the water. He prayed, " Please, God, help me to 
cross. It would be nonsense for me to be drowned 
when I am the only uninjured one.*' He managed a 
few more strokes and fetched up on a spit downstream. 

Mr. Tanimoto climbed up the bank and ran along 
it until, near a large Shinto shrine, he came to more 
fire, and as he turned left to get around it, he met, by 
incredible luck, his wife. She was carrying their infant 
son. Mr. Tanimoto was now so emotionally worn out 
that nothing could surprise him. He did not embrace 
his wife; he simply said, " Oh, you are safe." She told 
him that she had got home from her night in Ushida 
just in time for the explosion; she had been buried 
under the parsonage with the baby in her arms. She 
told how the wreckage had pressed down on her, how 
the baby had cried. She saw a chink of light, and by 
reaching up with a hand, she worked the hole bigger, 
bit by bit. After about half-an-hour, she heard the 
crackling noise of wood burning. At last the opening 
was big enough for her to push the baby out, and 
afterward she crawled out herself. She said she was 
now going out to Ushida again. Mr. Tanimoto said he 
wanted to see his church and take care of the people 
of his Neighbourhood Association. They parted as 
casually as bewildered as they had met. 

Mr. Tanimoto's way around the fire took him across 
the East Parade Ground, which, being an evacuation 



THE FIRE 49 

area, was now the scene of a gruesome review: rank 
on rank of the burned and bleeding. Those who were 
burned moaned, " Mizu, mizu ! Water, water !" Mr. 
Tanimoto found a basin in a near-by street and located 
a water tap that still worked in the crushed shell of a 
house, and he began carrying water to the suffering 
strangers. When he had given drink to about thirty of 
them, he realised he was taking too much time. 
" Excuse me," he said loudly to those near by who were 
reaching out their hands to him and crying their thirst. 
" I have many people to take care of." Then he ran 
away. He went to the river again, the basin in his 
hand, and jumped down on to a sandspit. There he 
saw hundreds of people so badly wounded that they 
could not get up to go farther from the burning city. 
When they saw a man erect and unhurt, the chant 
began again: "Mizu, mizu, mizu." Mr. Tanimoto 
could not resist them ; he carried them water from the 
river a mistake, since it was tidal and brackish. Two 
or three small boats were ferrying hurt people across 
the river from Asano Park, and when one touched 
the spit, Mr. Tanimoto again made his loud, apologetic 
speech and jumped into the boat. It took him across 
to the park. There, in the underbrush, he found some 
of his charges of the Neighbourhood Association, who 
had come there by his previous instructions, and saw 
many acquaintances, among them Father Kleinsorge 
and the other Catholics. But he missed Fukai, who 
had been a close friend. " Where is Fukakwz/z?" he 
asked. 

" He didn't want to come with us," Father Klein- 
sorge said. " He ran back." 



50 HIROSHIMA 

When Miss Sasaki heard the voices of the people 
caught along with her in the dilapidation at the tin 
factory, she began speaking to them. Her nearest 
neighbour, she discovered, was a high-school girl who 
had been drafted for factory work, and who said her 
back was broken. Miss Sasaki replied, " I am lying 
here and I can't move. My left leg is cut off." 

Some time later, she again heard somebody walk 
overhead and then move off to one side, and whoever 
it was began burrowing. The digger released several 
people, and when he had uncovered the high-school 
girl, she found that her back was not broken, after all, 
and she crawled o,ut. Miss Sasaki spoke to the rescuer, 
and he worked toward her. He pulled away a great 
number of books, until he had made a tunnel to her. 
She could see his perspiring face as he said, " Come 
out, Miss." She tried. " I can't move," she said. The 
man excavated some more and told her to try with all 
her strength to get out. But books were heavy on her 
hips, and the man finally saw that a bookcase was 
leaning on the books and that a heavy beam pressed 
down on the bookcase. *" Wait," he said. " I'll get a 
crowbar." , 

The man was gone a long time, and when he came 
back, he was ill-tempered, as if her plight were all her 
fault. " We have no men to help you, " he shouted 
in through the tunnel. "You'll have to get out by 
yourself." 

" That's impossible," she said. " My left leg . . ." 
The man went away. 

Much later, several men came and dragged Miss 
Sasaki out. Her left leg was not severed, but it was 



THE FIRE 51 

badly broken and cut and it hung askew below the 
knee. They took her out into a courtyard. It was 
raining. She sat on the ground in the rain. When the 
downpour increased, someone directed all the wounded 
people to take cover in the factory's air-raid shelters. 
" Come along," a torn-up woman said to her. " You 
can hop." But Miss Sasaki could not move, and she 
just waited in the rain. Then a man propped up a 
large sheet of corrugated iron as a kind of lean-to, and 
took her in his -arms and carried her to it. She was 
grateful until he brought two horribly wounded 
people a woman with a whole breast sheared off and 
a man whose face was all raw from a burn to share 
the simple shed with her. No one came back. The 
rain cleared and the cloudy afternoon was hot ; before 
nightfall the three grotesques under the slanting piece 
of twisted iron began to smell quite bad. 

The former head of the Nobori-cho Neighbourhood 
Association, to which the Catholic priests belonged, 
was an energetic man named Yoshida. He had boasted, . 
when he was in charge of the district air-raid defences, 
that fire might eat away all of Hiroshima but it would 
never come to Nobori-cho. The bomb blew down his 
house, and a joist pinned him by the legs, in full view 
of the Jesuit mission house across the way and of the 
people hurrying along the street. In their confusion as 
they hurried past, Mrs. Nakamura, with her children, 
and Father Kleinsorge, with Mr. Fukai on his back, 
hardly saw him ; he was just part of the general blur 
of misery through which they moved. His cries for 
help brought no response from them; there were so 
many people shouting for help that they could not hear 



52 HIROSHIMA 

him separately. They and all the others went along. 
Nobori-cho became absolutely deserted, and the fire 
swept through it. Mr. Yoshida saw the wooden 
mission house the only erect building in the area 
go up in a lick of flame, and the heat was terrific on 
his face. Then flames came along his side of the street 
and entered his house. In a paroxysm of terrified 
strength, he freed himself and ran down the alleys of 
Nobori-cho, hemmed in by the fire he had said would 
never come. He began at once to behave like an old 
man; two months later his hair was white. 

As Dr. Fujii stood in the river up to his neck to 
avoid the heat of the fire, the wind grew stronger and 
stronger, and soon, even though the expanse of water 
was small, the waves grew so high that the people 
under the bridge could no longer keep their footing. 
Dr. Fujii went close to the shore, crouched down, and 
embraced a large stone with his usable arm. Later it 
became possible to wade along the very edge of the 
river, and Dr. Fujii and his two surviving nurses 
moved about two hundred yards upstream, to a sand- 
spit near Asano Park. Many wounded were lying on 
the sand. Dr. Machii was there with his family; his 
daughter, who had been outdoors when the bomb 
burst, was badly burned on her hands and legs but 
fortunately not on her face. Although Dr. Fujii's 
shoulder was by now terribly painful, he examined the 
girl's burns curiously. Then he lay down. In spite of 
the misery all around, he was ashamed of his appear- 
ance, and he remarked to Dr. Machii that he looked 
like a beggar, dressed as he was in nothing but torn 
and bloody underwear. Late in the afternoon, when 



THE FIRE 53 

the fire began to subside, he decided to go to his 
parental house, in the suburb of Nagatsuka. He asked 
Dr. Machii to join him, but the Doctor answered that 
he and his family were going to spend the night on the 
spit, because of his daughter's injuries. Dr. Fujii, 
together with his nurses, walked first to Ushida, where, 
in the partially damaged house of some relatives, he 
found first-aid materials he had stored there. The two 
nurses bandaged him and he them. They went on. 
Now not many people walked in the streets, but a 
great number sat and lay on the pavement, vomited, 
waited for death, and died. The number of corpses 
pn the way to Nagatsuka was more and more puzzling. 
The Doctor wondered : Could a Molotov flower basket 
have done all this ? 

Dr. Fujii reached his family's house in the evening. 
It was five miles from the centre of town, but its roof 
had fallen in and the windows were all broken. 

All day, people poured into Asano Park. This 
private estate was far enough away from the explosion 
so that its bamboos, pines, laurel, and maples were 
still alive, and the green place invited refugees- partly 
because they believed that if the Americans came 
back, they would bomb only buildings ; partly because 
the foliage seemed a centre of coolness and life, and 
the estate's exquisitely precise rock gardens, with their 
quiet pools and arching bridges, were very Japanese, 
normal, secure; and also partly (according to some 
who were there) because of an irresistible, atavistic 
urge to hide under leaves. Mrs. Nakamura and her 
children were among the first to arrive, and they settled 
in the bamboo grove near the river. They all felt 



54 HIROSHIMA 

terribly thirsty, and they drank from the river. At 
once they were nauseated and began vomiting, and 
they retched the whole day. Others were also nau- 
seated; they all thought (probably because of the 
strong odour of ionization, an " electric smell " given 
off by the bomb's fission) that they were sick from a 
gas the Americans had dropped. When Father Klein- 
sorge and the other priests came into the park, nodding 
to their friends as they passed, the Nakamuras ,were 
all sick and prostrate. A woman named Iwasaki, who 
lived in the neighbourhood of the mission and who was 
sitting near the Nakamuras, got up and asked the 
priests if she should stay where she was or go with 
them. Father Kleinsorge said, " I hardly know where 
the safest place is." She stayed there, and later in the 
day, though she had no visible wounds or burns, she 
died. The priests went farther along the river and 
settled down in some underbrush. Father LaSalle lay 
down and went right to sleep. The theological student, 
who was wearing slippers, had carried with him a 
bundle of clothes, in which he had packed two pairs 
of leather shoes. When he sat down with the others, 
he found that the bundle had broken open and a 
couple of shoes had fallen out and now he had only 
two lefts. He retraced his steps and found one right. 
When he rejoined the priests, he said, " It's funny, 
but things don't matter any more. Yesterday, my 
shoes were my most important possessions. To-day, 
I don't care. One pair is enough." 

Father Cieslik s^id, " I know. I started to bring 
my books along, and then I thought, * This is no time 
for books.' " 



THE FJRH 55 

When Mr. Tanimoto, with his basin still in his hand, 
reached the park, it was very crowded, and to dis- 
tinguish the living from the dead was not easy, for 
most of the people lay still, with their eyes open. To 
Father Kleinsorge, an Occidental, the silence in the 
grove by the river, where hundreds of gruesomely 
wounded suffered together, was one of the most 
dreadful and awesome phenomena of his whole 
experience. The hurt ones were quiet; no one wept, 
much less screamed in pain; no one complained; 
none of the many who died did so noisily ; not even 
the children cried; very few people even spoke. And 
when Father Kleinsorge gave water to some whose 
faces had been almost blotted out by flash burns, they 
took their share and then raised themselves a little 
and bowed to him, in thanks. 

Mr. Tanimoto greeted the priests and then looked 
around for other friends. He saw Mrs. Matsumoto, 
wife of the director of the Methodist School, and asked 
her if she was thirsty. She was, so he went to one of 
the pools in the Asanos' rock gardens and got water 
for her in his basin. Then he decided to try to get back 
to his church. He \\ent into Nobori-cho by the way 
the priests had taken as they escaped, but he did not 
get far ; the fire along the streets was so fierce that he 
had to turn back. He walked to the river bank and 
began to look tor a boat in which he might carry some 
of the most severely injured across the river from Asano 
Park, and away from the spreading fire. Soon he found 
a good-sized pleasure punt drawn up on the bank, but 
in and around it was an awful tableau five dead men, 
nearly naked, badly burned, who must haye expired more 



56 t HIROSHIMA 

or less all at once, for they were in attitudes which 
suggested that they had been working together to push 
the boat down into the river. Mr. Tanimoto lifted 
them away from the boat, and as he did so, he exper- 
ienced such horror at disturbing the dead preventing 
them, he momentarily felt, from launching their craft 
and going on their ghostly way that he said out loud, 
" Please forgive me for taking this boat. I must use it 
for others, who are alive." The punt was heavy, but 
he managed to slide it into the water. There were no 
oars, and all he could find for propulsion was a thick 
bamboo pole. He worked the boat upstream to the 
most crowded part of the park and began to ferry the 
wounded. He could pack ten or twelve into the boat 
for each crossing, but as the river was too deep in the 
centre to pole his way across, he had to paddle with 
the bamboo, and consequently each trip took a very 
long time. He worked several hours that way. 

Early in the afternoon, the fire swept into the woods 
of Asano Park. The first Mr. Tanimoto knew of it 
was when, returning in his boat, he saw that a great 
number of people had moved toward the riverside. 
On touching the bank, he went up to investigate, and 
when he saw the fire* he shouted, "All the young men 
who are not badly hurt come with me !" Father 
Kleinsorge moved Father Schiffer and Father LaSalle 
close to the edge of the river and asked people there 
to get them across if the fire came too near, and thei* 
joined Tanimoto's volunteers. Mr. Tanimoto sent 
some to look for buckets and basins and told others 
to beat the burning underbrush with their clothes ; 
when utensils were at hand, he formed a bucket chain 



THE FIRE 57 

from one of the pools in the rock gardens. The team 
fought the fire for more than two hours, and gradually 
defeated the flames. As Mr. Tanimoto's men worked, 
the frightened people in the park pressed closer and 
closer to the river, and finally the mob began to force 
some of the unfortunates who were on the very bank 
into the water. Among those driven into the river and 
drowned were Mrs. Matsumoto, of the Methodist 
SchQol, and her daughter. 

When Father Kleinsorge got back after fighting the 
fire, hfe found Father Schiffer still bleeding and terribly 
pale. Some Japanese stood around and stared at him, 
and Father Schiffer whispered, with a weak smile, "It 
is as if I were already dead." " Not yet," Father 
Kleinsorge said. He had brought Dr. Fujii's first-aid 
kit with him, and he had noticed Dr. Kanda in the 
crowd, so he sought him out and asked him if he would 
dress Father Schiffer's bad cuts. Dr. Kanda had seen 
his wife and daughter dead in the ruins of his hospital ; 
he sat now with his head in his hands. " I can't do 
anything," he said. Father Kleinsorge bound more 
bandage around Father Schiffer's head, moved him to 
a steep place, and settled him so that his head was 
high, and soon the bleeding diminished. 

The roar of approaching planes was heard about 
this time. Someone in the crowd near the Nakamura 
family shouted, *' It's some Grummans coming to 
strafe us !" A baker named Nakashima stood up and 
commanded, " Everyone who is wearing anything 
white, take it off." Mrs. Nakamura took the blouses 
off her children, and opened her umbrella and made 
tfiem get under it. A great number of people, even 



58 HIROSHIMA 

badly burned ones, crawled into bushes and stayed 
there until the hum, evidently of a reconnaissance or 
weather run, died away. 

It began to rain. Mrs. Nakamura kept her children 
under the umbrella. The drops grew abnormally 
large and someone shouted, " The Americans are 
dropping gasoline. They're going to sdt fire to us ! " 
(This alarm stemmed from one of the theories being 
passed through the park as to why so much of Hiro- 
shima had burned: it was that a single plane had 
sprayed gasoline on the city and then somehow set 
fire to it in one flashing moment.) But the drops were 
palpably water, and as they fell, the wind grew stronger 
and stronger, and suddenly probably because of the 
tremendous convection sej: up by the blazing city a 
whirlwind ripped through the park. Huge trees 
crashed down; small ones were uprooted and flew 
into the air. Higher, a wild array of flat things 
revolved in the twisting funnel pieces of iron roofing, 
papers, doors, strips of matting. Father Kleinsorge 
put a piece of cloth over Father Schiffer's eyes, so that 
the feeble man would not think he was going crazy. 
The gale blew Mrs. Murata, the mission housekeeper, 
who was sitting close by the river, down the embank- 
ment at a shallow, rocky place, and she came out with 
her bare feet bloody. The vortex moved out on 
to the river, where it sucked up a waterspout and 
eventually spent itself. 

After the storm, Mr. Tanimoto began ferrying 
people again, and Father Kleinsorge asked the theo- 
logical student to go across and make his way out to 
the Jesuit Novitiate at Nagatsuka, about three miles 



THE FJRE 59 

from the centre of town, and to request the priests 
there to come with help for Fathers Schiffer and LaSalle. 
The student got into Mr. Tanimoto's boat and went off 
with him. Father Kleinsorge asked Mrs. Nakamura 
if she would like to go out to Nagatsuka with the 
priests when they came. She said she had some 
luggage and her children were sick they were still 
vomiting from time to time, and so, for that matter, 
was she and therefore she feared she could not. 
He said he thought the fathers from the Novitiate 
could come back the next day with a pushcart to get 
her. 

Late in the afternoon, when he went ashore for a 
while, Mr. Tanimoto, upon whose energy and initiative 
many had come to depend, heard people begging for 
food. He consulted Father Kleinsorge, and they 
decided to go back into town to get some rice from 
Mr. Tanimoto's Neighbourhood Association shelter 
and from a mission shelter. Father Cieslik and two 
or three others went with them. At first, when they 
got among the rows of prostrate houses, they did not 
know where they were; the change was too sudden, 
from a busy city of two hundred and forty-five thousand 
that morning to a mere pattern of residue in the after- 
noon. The asphalt of the streets was still so soft and 
hot from the fires that walking was uncomfortable. 
They encountered only one person, a woman, who 
said to them as they passed, " My husband is in those 
ashes." At the mission, where Mr. Tanimoto left the 
party, Father Kleinsorge was dismayed to see the 
building razed. In the garden on the way to the 
shelter, he noticed a pumpkin roasted on the vine. 



60 HIROSHIMA 

He and Father Cieslik tasted it and it was good. They 
were surprised at their hunger, and they ate quite a bit. 
They got out several bags of rice and gathered up 
several other cooked pumpkins *and dug up some 
potatoes that were nicely baked under the ground, 
and started back. Mr. Tanimoto rejoined them on 
the way. One of the people with him had some 
cooking utensils. In the park, Mr. Tanimoto organ- 
ised the lightly wounded women of his neighbourhood 
to cook. Father Kleinsorge offered the Nakamura 
family some pumpkin, and they tried it, but they 
could not keep it on their stomachs. Altogether, 
the rice was enough to feed nearly a hundred people. 

Just before dark, Mr. Tanimoto came across a 
twenty-year-old girl, Mrs. Kamai, the Tanimotos' 
next-door neighbour. She was crouching on the 
ground with the body of her infant daughter in her 
arms. The baby had evidently been dead all day. 
Mrs. Kamai jumped up when she saw Mr. Tanimoto 
aTnd said, " Would you please try to locate my 
husband ? " 

Mr. Tanimoto knew that her husband had been 
inducted into the Army just the day before; he and 
Mrs. Tanimoto had entertained Mrs. Kamai in the 
afternoon, to make her forget. Kamai had reported 
to the Chugoku Regional Army Headquarters near 
the ancient castle in the middle of town where some 
four thousand troops were stationed. Judging by the 
many maimed soldiers Mr. Tanimoto had seen during 
the day, he surmised that the barracks had been badly 
damaged by whatever it was that had hit Hiroshima. 
He knew he hadn't a chance of finding Mrs. Kamai's 



THE FIRE 61 

husband, even if he searched, but he wanted to humour 
her. " I'll try," he said. 

" You've got to find him," she said. " He loved 
our baby so much. I want him to see her once more." 



Ill 

DETAILS ARE BEING INVESTIGATED 

EARLY in the evening of the day the bomb exploded, 
a Japanese naval launch moved slowly up and down 
the seven rivers of Hiroshima. It stopped here and 
there to make .an announcement alongside the 
crowded sandspits, on which hundreds of wounded 
lay; at the bridges, on which others were crowded; 
and eventually, as twilight fell, opposite Asano Park. 
A young officer stood up in the launch and shouted 
through a megaphone, " Be patient ! A naval hospital 
ship is coming to take care of you ! " The sight of 
the shipshape launch against the background of the 
havoc across the river; the unruffled young man in his 
neat uniform ; above all, the promise of medical help 
the first word of possible succour anyone had heard 
in nearly twelve awful hours cheered the people in 
the park tremendously. Mrs. Nakamura settled her 
family for the night with the assurance that a doctor 
would come and stop their retching. Mr. Tanimoto 
resumed ferrying the wounded across the river. Father 
Kleinsorge lay down and said the Lord's Prayer and a 
Hail Mary to himself, and fell right asleep; but no 
sooner had he dropped off than Mrs. Murata, the 
conscientious mission housekeeper, shook him and 
said, " Father Kleinsorge : Did you remember to 
repeat your evening prayers ? " He answered rather 
grumpily, " Of course," and he tried to go back to 
sleep but could not. This, apparently, was just what 
Mrs. Murata wanted. She began to chat with the 
exhausted priest. One of the questions she raised was 



DETAILS ARE BEING INVESTIGATED 63 

when he thought the priests from the Novitiate, for 
whom he had sent a messenger in mid-afternoon, 
would arrive to evacuate Father Superior LaSalle 
and Father Schiffer. 

The messenger Father Kleinsorge had sent the 
theological student who had been living at the mission 
house had arrived at the Novitiate, in the hills about 
three miles out, at half-past four. The sixteen priests 
there had been doing rescue work in the outskirts; 
they had worried about their colleagues in the city 
but had not known how or where to look for them. 
Now they hastily made two litters out of poles and 
boards, 'and the student led half a dozen of them 
back into the devastated area. They worked their 
way along the Ota above the city ; twice the heat of the 
fire forced them into the river. At Misasa Bridge, 
they encountered a long line of soldiers making a 
bizarre forced march away from the the Chugoku 
Regional Army Headquarters in the centre of the 
town. All were grotesquely burned and they supported 
themselves with staves or leaned on one another. 
Sick, burned horses, hanging their heads, stood on 
the bridge. When the rescue party reached the park 
it was after dark, and progress was made extremely 
difficult by the tangle of fallen trees of all sizes that 
had been knocked down by the whirlwind that after- 
noon. At last not long after Mrs. Murata asked her 
question they reached their friends, and gave them 
wine and strong tea. 

The priests discussed how to get Father Schiffer 
and Father LaSalle out to the Novitiate. They were 
afraid that blundering through the park with them 



64 HIROSHIMA 

would jar them too much on the wooden litters, and 
that the wounded men would lose too much blood. 
Father Kleinsorge thought of Mr. Tanimoto and his 
boat, and called out to him on the river. When 
Mr. Tanimoto reached the bank, he said he would be 
glacf to take the injured priests and their bearers 
upstream to where they could find a clear roadway. 
The rescuers put Father Schiffer on to one of the 
stretchers and lowered it into the boat, and two of 
them went aboard with it. Mr. Tanimoto, who still 
had no oars, poled the punt upstream. 

About half an hour later, Mr. Tanimoto came back 
and excitedly asked the remaining priests to help him 
rescue two children he had seen standing up to their 
shoulders in the river. A group went out and picked 
them up two young girls who had lost their family 
and were both badly burned. The priests stretched 
them on the ground next to Father Kleinsorge and 
then embarked Father LaSalle. Father Cieslik thought 
he could make it out to the Novitiate on foot, so he 
went aboard with the others. Father Kleinsorge 
was too feeble-; he decided to wait in the park until 
the next day. He asked the men to come back with 
a handcart, so that they could take Mrs. Nakamura 
and her sick children to the Novitiate. 

Mr. Tanimoto shoved off again, As the boat load 
of priests moved slowly upstream, they heard weak 
cries for help. A woman's voice stood out especially : 
" There are people here about to be drowned ! Help 
us ! The water is rising 1 " The sounds came from 
one of the sandspits, and those in the punt could see, 
in the reflected light of the still-burning fires, a number 



DETAILS ARE BEING INVESTIGATED 65 

of wounded people lying at the edge of the river, 
already partly covered by the flooding tide. Mr. 
Tanimoto wanted to help them, but the priests were 
afraid that Father SchifTer would die if they didn't 
hurry, and they urged their ferryman along. He 
dropped them where he had put Father Schiffer down 
and then started back alone toward the sandspit. 

The night was hot, and it seemed even hotter because 
of the fires against the sky, but the younger of the two 
girls Mr. Tanimoto and the priests had rescued com- 
plained to Father Kleinsorge that she was cold. He 
covered her with his jacket. She and her older sister 
had been in the salt water of the river for a couple of 
hours before being rescued. The younger one had 
huge, raw flash burns on her body; the salt water 
must have been excruciatingly painful to her. She 
began to shiver heavily, and again said it was cold. 
Father Kleinsorge borrowed a blanket from someone 
nearby and wrapped her up, but she shook more and 
more, and said again, " I am so cold," and then she 
suddenly stopped shivering and was dead. 

Mr. Tanimoto found about twenty men and women 
on the sandspit. He drove the boat on to the bank 
and urged them to get aboard. They did not move 
and he realised that they were too weak to lift them- 
selves. He reached down and took a woman by the 
hands, but her skin slipped off in huge, glove-like 
pieces. He was so sickened by this that he had to 
sit down for a moment. Then he got out into the 
water and, though a small man, lifted several of the 
men and, women, who were naked, into his boat. 
Their backs and breasts were clammy, and he re- 



66 HIROSHIMA 

membered uneasily what the great burns he had seen 
during the day had been like : yellow at first, then red 
and swollen, with the skin sloughed off, and finally, 
in the evening, suppurated and smelly. With the tide 
risen, his bamboo pole was now too short and he had 
to paddle most of the way across with it. On the other 
side, at a higher spit, he lifted the slimy living bodies 
out and carried them up the slope away from the 
tide. He had to keep consciously repeating to himself, 
" These are human beings." It took him three trips 
to get them all across the river. When he had finished, 
he decided he had to have a rest, and he went back to 
the park. 

As Mr. Tanimoto stepped up the dark bank, he 
tripped over someone, and someone else said angrily, 
"Look out! That's my hand." Mr. Tanimoto, 
ashamed of hurting wounded people, embarrassed 
at being able to walk upright, suddenly thought of 
the naval hospital ship, which had not come (it never 
did), and he had for a moment a feeling of blind, 
murderous rage at the crew of the ship, and then at all 
doctors. Why didn't they come to help these people ? 

Dr. Fujii lay in dreadful pain throughout the night 
on the floor of his family's roofless house on the edge 
of the city. By the light of a lantern, he had examined 
himself tod found : left clavicle fractured ; multiple 
abrasions and lacerations of face and body, including 
deep cuts on the chin, back, and legs; extensive 
contusions on chest and trunk; a couple of ribs 
possibly fractured. Had he not been so badly hurt, 
he might have been at Asano Park, assisting the 
wounded. 



DETAILS ARE BEING INVESTIGATED 67 

By nightfall, ten thousand victims of the explosion 
had invaded the Red Cross Hospital, and Dr. Sasaki, 
worn out, was moving aimlessly and dully up and down 
the stinking corridors with wads of bandage and bottles* 
of mercurochrome, still wearing the glasses he had 
taken from the wounded nurse, binding up the worst 
cuts as he came to them. Other doctors were putting 
compresses of saline solution on the worst burns. 
That was all they could do. After dark, they worked 
by the light of the city's fires and by candles the ten 
remaining nurses held for them. Dr. Sasaki had not 
looked outside the hospital all day; the scene inside 
was so terrible and so compelling that it had not occurred 
to him to ask any questions about what had happened 
beyond the windows and doors. Ceilings and parti- 
tions had fallen ; plaster, dust, blood, and vomit were 
everywhere. Patients were dying by the hundreds, 
but there was nobody to carry away the corpses. 
Some of the hospital staff distributed biscuits and rice 
balls, but the charnel-house smell was so strong that 
few were hungry. By three o'clock the next morning 
after nineteen straight hours of his gruesome work, 
Dr. Sasaki was incapable of dressing another wound. 
He and some other survivors of the hospital staff got 
straw mats and went outdoors thousands of patients 
and hundreds of dead were in the yard and on the 
drive way and hurried around behind the hospital 
and lay down in hiding to snatch some sleep. But 
within an hour wounded people had found them; 
a complaining circle formed around them : " Doctors ! 
Help us ! How can you sleep ? " Dr. Sasaki got 
up again and went back to work. Early in the day, 



68 HIROSHIMA 

he thought for the first time of his mother at then- 
country home in Mukaihara, thirty miles from town. 
He usually went home every night. He was afraid 
she would think he was dead. 

Near the spot up river to which Mr. Tanimoto had 
transported the priests, there sat a large case of rice 
cakes which a rescue party had evidently brought 
for the wounded lying thereabouts but hadn't dis- 
tributed. Before evacuating the wounded priests, the 
others passed the cakes around and helped themselves. 
A few minutes later, a band of soldiers came up, and 
an officer, hearing the priests speaking a foreign 
language, drew his sword and hysterically asked who 
they were. One of the priests calmed him down and 
explained that they were Germans allies. The officer 
apologised and said that there were reports going 
round that American parachutists had landed. 

The priests decided that they should take Father 
Schiffer first. As they prepared to leave, Father 
Superior LaSalle said he felt awfully cold. One of the 
Jesuits gave up his coat, another his shirt; they were 
glad to wear less in the muggy night. The stretcher 
bearers started out. The theological student led the 
way and tried to warn the others of obstacles, but one 
of the priests got a foot tangled in some telephone wire 
and tripped and dropped his corner of the litter. 
Father Schiffer rolled off, lost consciousness, came to, 
and then vomited. The bearers picked him up and 
went on with him to the edge of the city, where they 
had arranged to meet a relay of other priests, left him 
with them, and turned back and got the Father 
Superior. 



DETAILS ARE BEING INVESTIGATED 69 

The wooden litter must have been terribly painful 
for Father LaSalle, in whose back scores of tiny 
particles of window glass were embedded. Near the 
edge of town, the group had to walk around an auto- 
mobile burned and squatting on the narrow road, 
and the bearers on one side, unable to see their way in 
the darkness, fell into a deep ditch. Father LaSalle 
was thrown onto the ground and the litter broke in two. 
One priest went ahead to get a handcart from the 
Novitiate, but he soon found one beside an empty 
house and wheeled it back. The priests lifted Father 
LaSalle into the cart and pushed him over the bumpy 
road the rest of the way. The rector of the Novitiate, 
who had been a doctor before he entered the religious 
order, cleaned the wounds of the two priests and put 
them to bed between clean sheets, and they thanked 
God for the care they had received. 

Thousands of people had nobody to help them. 
Miss Sasaki was one of them. Abandoned and 
helpless, under the crude lean-to in the courtyard of 
the tin factory, beside the woman who had lost a 
breast and the man whose burned face was scarcely a 
face any more, she suffered awfully that night from the 
pain in her broken leg. She did not sleep at all; 
neither did she converse with her sleepless companions. 

In the park, Mrs. Murata kept Father Kieinsorge 
awake all night by talking to him. None of the 
Nakamura family were able to sleep, either; the 
children, in spite of being very sick, were interested 
in everything that happened. They were delighted 
when one of the city's gas-storage tanks went up in a 
tremendous burst of flame. Toshio, the boy, shouted 



HIROSHIMA 

to the others to look at the reflection in the river. 
Mr. Tanimoto, after his long run and his many hours 
of rescue work, dozed uneasily. When he awoke, in 
the first light of dawn, he looked across the river 
and saw that he had not carried the festered, limp 
bodies high enough on the sandspit the night before. 
The tide had risen above where he had put them; 
they had not had the strength to move; they must 
have drowned. He saw a number of bodies floating 
in the river. 

Early that day, August 7th, the Japanese radio 
broadcast for the first time a succinct announcement 
that very few, if any, of the people most concerned 
with its content, the survivors in Hiroshima, happened 
to hear: "Hiroshima suffered considerable damage 
as the result of an attack by a few B-29s. It is believed 
that a new type of bomb was used. The details are 
being investigated." Nor is it probable that any oi 
the survivors happened to be tuned in on a short-wave 
rebroadcast of an extraordinary announcement by 
the President of the United States, which identified 
the new bomb as atomic : " That bomb had more 
power than twenty thousand tons of T.N.T. It had 
more than two thousand times the blast power of the 
British Grand Slam, which is the largest bomb ever 
yet used in the history of warfare." Those victims 
who were able to worry at all about what had happened 
thought of it and discussed it in more primitive, 
childish terms gasoline sprinkled from an aeroplane, 
maybe, or some combustible gas, or a big cluster of 
incendiaries, or the work of parachutists ; but, even 
if they had known the truth, most of them were too 



DETAILS ARE BEING INVESTIGATED 71 

busy or too weary or too badly hurt to care that they 
were the objects of the first great experiment in the use 
of atomic power, which (as the voices on the short 
wave'shoOted) no country except the United States, 
- with its industrial know-how, its willingness to throw 
two billion gold dollars into an important wartime 
gamble, could possibly have developed. 

Mr. Tanimoto was still angry at doctors. He decided 
that he would personally bring one lo Asano Park 
by the scruff ot the neck, it necessary. He crossed the 
river, went past the Shinto shrine where he had met his 
wife for a brief moment the day before, and walked 
to the East Parade Ground. Since this had long 
before been designated as an evacuation area, he 
thought he would find an aid station there. He did 
find one, operated by an Army medical unit, but he 
also saw that its doctors were hopelessly overburdened, 
with thousands ot patients sprawled among corpses 
across the field in iront of it. Nevertheless, he went 
up to one of the army doctors and said, as reproach- 
fully as he could, " Why have you not come to Asano 
Park ? You are badly needed there." 

Without even looking up from his work, the doctor 
said in a tired voice, 4fc This is my station." 

*' But there are many dying on the river bank ovei 
there." 

''* The first duty," the doctor said, " is to take care 
of the slightly wounded." 

* \vhy when there are many who are heavily 
wounded on the river-bank ? " 

The doctor moved to another patient. 'In an 
emergency like this." he said, as if he were reciting 



72 HIROSHIMA 

from a manual, kt the first task ?s to help as many 
as possible to save as many lives as possible. There 
is no hope for the heavily wounded. They will die. 
We can't bother with them." 

" That might be right from a medical standpoint ' 
Mr. Tammoto began, but then he looked out across 
the field, where the many dead lay close and intimate 
with those who were still living, and he turned away 
without finishing his sentence, angry now with himself. 
He didn't know what to do ; he had promised some of 
the dying people in the park that he would bring 
medical aid. They might die feeling cheated. He 
saw a ration stand at one side of the field, and he went 
to it and begged some rice and biscuits, and he took 
them back, in lieu of doctors, to the people in the 
park. 

The morning, again, was hot. Father Kleinsorge 
went to fetch water for the wounded in a bottle and a 
teapot he had borrowed. He had heard that it was 
possible to get fresh tap water outside Asano Park. 
Going through the rock gardens, he had to climb over 
and crawl under the trunks of fallen pine trees; he 
found he was weak. There were many dead in the 
gardens. At a beautiful moon bridge, he passed a 
naked living woman who seemed to have been burned 
from head to toe and was red all over. Near the 
entrance to the park, an Army doctor was working, 
but the only medicine he had was iodine, which he 
painted over cuts, bruises, slimy burns, everything 
and by now everything that he had painted had pus on 
it. Outside the gate of the park, Father Kleinsorge 
found a faucet that still worked part of the plumbing 



DETAILS ARE BEING INVESTIGATED 73 

of a vanished house and he filled his vessels and 
returned. When he had given the wounded the 
water, he made a second trip. This time, the woman 
by the bridge was dead. On his way back with the 
water, he got lost on a detour around a fallen tree, and 
as he looked for his way through the woods, he heard 
a voice ask from the underbrush, " Have you anything 
to drink ? " He saw a uniform. Thinking there was 
just one soldier, he approached with the water. When 
he had penetrated the bushes, he saw there were 
about twenty men, and they were all in exactly the 
same nightmarish state: their faces were wholly 
burned, their eyesockets were hollow, the fluid from 
their melted eyes had run down their cheeks. (They 
must have had their faces upturned when the bomb 
went off; perhaps they were anti-aircraft personnel.) 
Their mouths were mere swollen, pus-covered wounds, 
which they could not bear to stretch enough to admit 
the spout of the teapot. So Father Kleinsorge got a 
large piece of grass and drew out the stem so as to make 
a straw, and gave them all water to drink that way. 
One of them said, " I can't see anything." Father 
Kleinsorge answered as cheerfully as he could, " There's 
a doctor at the entrance to the park. He's busy now, 
but he'll come soon and fix your eyts, I hope." 

Since that day, Father Kleinsorge has thought back 
to how queasy he had once been at the sight of pain, 
how someone else's cut finger used to make him turn 
faint. Yet there in the park he was so benumbed that 
immediately after leaving this horrible sight he stopped 
on a path by one of the pools and discussed with a 
lightly wounded man whether it would be safe to eat 



74 HIROSHIMA 

the fat, two-foot carp that floated dead on the surface 
of the water. They decided, after some consideration, 
that it would be unwise. 

Father Kleinsorge filled the containers a third time 
and went back to the river-bank. There, amid the dead 
and dying, he saw a young woman with a needle and 
thread mending her kimono, which had been slightly 
torn. Father Kleinsorge joshed her. " My, but 
you're a dandy ! " he said. She laughed. 

He felt tired and lay down. He began to talk with 
two engaging children whose acquaintance he had 
made the afternoon before. He learned that their 
name was Kataoka; the girl was thirteen, the boy 
five. The girl had been just about to set out for a 
barber shop when the bomb fell. As the family 
started for Asano Park, their mother decided to turn 
back for some food and extra clothing; they became 
separated from her in the crowd of fleeing people, 
and they had not seen her since. Occasionally they 
stopped suddenly in their perfectly cheerful playing 
and began to cry for their mother. 

It was difficult for all the children in the park to 
sustain the sense of tragedy. Toshio Nakamura got 
quite excited when he saw his friend Seichi Sato riding 
up the river in a Wbat with his family, and he ran to the 
bank and waved and shouted, " Sato ! Sato ! " 

The boy turned his head and shouted, " Who's 
that?" 

" Nakamura." 

" Hello, Toshio ! " 

"Are you all safe?" 

" Yes. What about you ? " 



DETAILS ARE BEING INVESTIGATED 75 

"Yes, we're all right. My sisters are vomiting, 
but I'm fine." 

Father Kleinsorge began to be thirsty in the dreadful 
heat, and he did not feel strong enough to go for water 
again. A little before noon, he saw a Japanese woman 
handing something out. Soon she came to him and 
said in a kindly voice, " These are tea leaves. Chew 
them, young man, and you won't feel thirsty." The 
woman's gentleness made Father Kleinsorge suddenly 
want to cry. For weeks, he had been feeling oppressed 
by the hatred of foreigners that the Japanese seemed 
increasingly to show, and he had been uneasy even 
with his Japanese friends. This strartger's gesture 
made him a little hysterical. 

Around noon, the priests arrived from the Novitiate 
with the handcart. They had been to the site of the 
mission house in the city and had retrieved some 
suitcases that had been stored in the air-raid shelter 
and had also picked up the remains of melted holy 
vessels in the ashes of the chapel. They now packed 
Father Kleinsorge's papier-mache suitcase and the 
things belonging to Mrs. Murata and the Nakamuras 
into the cart, put the two Nakamura girls aboard, 
and prepared to start out. Then one of the Jesuits 
who had a practical turn of mind remembered that 
they had been notified some time before that if they 
suffered property damage at the hands of the enemy, 
they could enter a claim for compensation with the 
prefectural police. The holy men discussed this 
matter there in the park, with the wounded as silent as 
the dead around them, and decided that Father 
Kleinsorge, as a former resident of the destroyed 



76 HIROSHIMA 

mission, was the one to enter the claim. So, as the 
others went off with the handcart, Father Klcinsorge 
said good-bye to the Kataoka children and trudged 
to a police station. Fresh, clean-uniformed policemen 
from another town were in charge, and a crowd of 
dirty and disarrayed citizens crowded around them, 
mostly asking after lost relatives. Father Kleinsorge 
filled out a claim form and started walking through 
the centre of town on his way to Nagatsuka. It was 
then that he first realised the extent of the damage; 
he passed block after block of ruins, and even after 
all he had seen in the park, his breath was taken away. 
By the time he reached the Novitiate, he was sick with 
exhaustion. The last thing he did as he fell into bed 
was request that someone go back for the motherless 
Kataoka children. 

Altogether, Miss Sasaki was left two days and 
two nights under the piece of propped-up roofing 
with her crushed leg and her two unpleasant comrades. 
Her only diversion was when men came to the factory 
air-raid shelters, which she could see from under 
one corner of her shelter, and hauled corpses up out 
of them with ropes. Her leg became discoloured, 
swollen, and putrid. All that time, she went without 
food and water. On the third day, August 8th, 
some friends who supposed she was dead came to look 
for her body and found her. They told her that her 
mother, father, and baby brother, who at the time of 
the explosion* were in the Tamura Pediatric Hospital, 
where the baby was a patient, had all been given up 
as certainly dead, since the hospital was totally 
destroyed. Her friends then left her to think that 



DETAILS ARE BEING INVESTIGATED 77 

piece of news over. Later, some men picked her up 
by the arms and legs and carried her quite a distance 
to a truck. For about an hour, the truck moved over 
a bumpy road, and Miss Sasaki, who had become 
convinced that she was dulled to pain, discovered 
that^she was not. The men lifted her out at a relief 
station in the section of Inokuchi, where two Army 
doctors looked at her. The moment one of them 
touched her wound, she fainted. She came to in 
to hear them discuss whether or not to cut off her 
leg; one said there was gas gangrene in the lips of the 
wound and predicted she would die unless they 
amputated, and the other said that was too bad, 
because they had no equipment with which to do 
the job. She fainted again. When she recovered 
consciousness, she was being carried somewhere on a 
stretcher. She was put aboard a launch, which went 
to the nearby island of Ninoshima, and she was 
taken to a military hospital there. Another doctor 
examined her and said that she did not have gas 
gangrene, though she did have a fairly ugly compound 
fracture. He said quite coldly that he was sorry, 
but this was a hospital for operative 
only, and because she had no 
have to return to Hiroshima that 
doctor took her temperature, 
the thermometer made him 

That day, August 8th, 
city to look for" Mr. Fukai, th 
the diocese, who had ridden 
flaming city on Father Kleinso 
hari run hack cra/ilv into it. 



gan, 




78 HIROSHIMA 

hunting in the neighbourhood of Sakai Bridge, where 
the Jesuits had last seen Mr. Fukai ; he 'went to the 
East Parade Ground, the evacuation area to which 
the secretary might have gone, and looked for him 
among the wounded and dead there; he went to the 
prefectural police and made inquiries. He could not 
find any trace of the man. Back at the Novitiate 
that evening, the theological student, who had been 
rooming with Mr. Fukai at the mission house, told the 
priests that the secretary had remarked to him, during 
an air-raid alarm one day not long before the bombing, 
" Japan is dying. If there is a real air raid here in 
Hiroshima, I want to die with our country." The 
priests concluded that Mr. Fukai had run back to 
immolate himself in the flames. They never saw him 
again. 

At the Red Cross Hospital, Dr. Sasaki worked for 
three straight days with only one hour's sleep. On 
the second day, he began to sew up the worst cuts, 
and right through the following night and all the next 
day he stitched. Many of the wounds were festered. 
Fortunately, someone had found intact a supply of 
a Japanese sedative, and he gave it to many 
Word went around among the staff 
jtnkt there :tm$& Ibave been something peculiar about 
the great bomb, because on the second day the vice- 
chief pf^he, hosprttal went down in the basement to 
the va^t where th^JC^pay plates were stored and found 
the whoTe stock '^fcfyfced as they lay. That day, a 
fresh doctor and t&n 'nurses came in from the city of 
Yamaguchi wilfo^xtfa bandages and antiseptics, and 
the third -dav ^another ohvsician and a dozen more 



DETAILS ARE BEING INVESTIGATED 79 

nurses arrived from Matsue yet , there were still 
only ^eight doctors for ten thousand patients. In the 
afternoon of the third day, exhausted from his foul 
tailoring, Dr. Sasaki became obsessed with the idea 
that his mother thought he was dead. He got per- 
mission to go to Mukaihara. He walked out to the 
first suburbs, beyond which the electric train service 
was still functioning, and reached home late in the 
evening. His mother said she had known he was all 
right all along; a wounded nurse had stopped by to 
tell her. He went to bed and slept for seventeen 
hours. 

Before dawn on August 8th, s6meone entered the 
room at the Novitiate where Father Kleinsorge was 
in bed, reached up to the hanging light bulb, and 
switched it on. The sudden flood of light, pouring in 
on Father Kleinsorge's half sleep, brought him leaping 
out of bed, braced for a new concussion. When he 
realised what had happened, he laughed confusedly 
and went back to bed. He stayed there all day. 

On August 9th, Father Kleinsorge was still tired. 
The rector looked at his cuts and said they were not 
even worth dressing, and if Father Kleinsorge kepi 
them clean, they would heal in three or four days. 
Father Kleinsorge felt uneasy; he could not yet 
comprehend what he had been through ; as if he were 
guilty of something awful, he felt he had to go back 
to the scene of the violence he had experienced. He 
got up out of bed and walked into the city. He 
scratched for a while in the ruins of the mission house, 
but he found nothing. He went to the sites of a couple 
of schools and asked after people he knew. He 



80 HIROSHIMA 

looked for some of the city's Japanese Catholics, but 
he found only fallen houses. He walked back to the 
Novitiate, stupefied and without any new under- 
standing. 

At two minutes after eleven o'clock on the morning 
of August 9th, the second atomic bomb was dropped, 
on Nagasaki. It was several days before the survivors 
of Hiroshima knew they had company, because the 
Japanese radio and newspapers were being extremely 
cautious on the subject of the strange weapon. 

On August 9th, Mr. Tanimoto was still working 
in the park. He went to the suburb of Ushida, where 
his wife was staying with friends, and got a tent which 
he had stored there before the bombing. He now 
took it to the park and set it up as a shelter for some of 
the wounded who could not move or be moved. 
Whatever he did in the park, he felt he was being 
watched by the twenty-year-old girl, Mrs. Kamai, his 
former neighbour, whom he had seen on the day 
the bomb exploded, with her dead baby daughter in 
her arms. She kept the small corpse in her arms 
for four days, even though it began smelling bad on 
the second day. Once, Mr. Tanimoto sat with her 
for a while, and she told him that the bomb had 
buried her under their house with the baby strapped 
to her back, and that when she had dug herself free, 
she had discovered that the baby was choking, its 
mouth full of dirt With her little finger, she had 
carefully cleaned out the infant's mouth, and for a 
time the child had breathed normally and seemed all 
right; then suddenly it had died. Mrs. Kamai 
also talked about what a fine man her husband was, 



DETAILS ARE BEING INVESTIGATED 81 

and again urged Mr. Tanimoto to search for him. 
Since Mr. Tanimoto had been all through the city 
the first day and had seen terribly burned soldiers 
from Kamai's post, the Chugoku Regional Army 
Headquarters, everywhere, he knew it would be 
impossible to find Kamai, even if he were living, but 
of course, he didn't tell her that. Every time she saw 
Mr. Tanimoto, she asked whether he had found her 
husband. Once, he tried to suggest that perhaps it 
was time to cremate the baby, but Mrs. Kamai only 
held it tighter. He began to keep away from her, 
but whenever he looked at her, she was staring at him 
and her eyes asked the same question. He tried to 
escape her glance by keeping his back turned to her 
as much as possible. 

The Jesuits took about fifty refugees into the exqui- 
site chapel of the Novitiate. The rector gave them 
what medical care he could mostly just the cleaning 
away of pus. Each of the Nakamuras was provided 
with a blanket and mosquito net. Mrs. Nakamura 
and her younger daughter had no appetite and ate 
nothing; her son and other daughter ate, and lost, 
each meal they were offered. On August 10th, a 
friend, Mrs. Osaki, came to see them and told them 
that her son Hideo had been burned alive in the 
factory where he worked. This Hideo had been a kind 
of hero to Toshio, who had often gone to the plant 
to watch him run his machine. That night, Toshio 
woke up screaming. He had dreamed that he had seen 
Mrs. Osaki coming out of an opening in the ground 
with her family, and then he saw Hideo at his machine, 
a big one with a revolving belt, and he himself was 



82 HIROSHIMA 

standing beside Hideo, and for some reason this was 
terrifying 

On August 10th, Father Klemsorge, having heard 
from someone that Dr. Fujii had been injured and that 
he had eventually gone to the summer house of a friend 
of his named Okuma, in the village of Fukawa, asked 
Father Cieslik if he would go and see how Dr. Fujii 
was. Father Cieslik went to Misasa station, outside 
Hiroshima, rode for twenty minutes on ari electric 
train, and then walked for an {lour and a half in a 
terribly hot sun to Mr. Okuma's house, which was 
beside the Ota River at the foot of a mountain. He 
found Dr. Fujii sitting in a chair in a kimono, applying 
compresses to his broken collar-bone. The Doctor 
told Father Cieslik about having lost his glasses and 
said that his eyes bothered him. He showed the priest 
huge blue and green stripes where beams had bruised 
him. He offered the Jesuit first a cigarette and then 
whisky, though it was only eleven in the morning. 
Father Cieslik thought it would please Dr. Fujii if 
he took a little, so he said yes. A servant brought some 
Suntory whisky, and the Jesuit, the Doctor, and the 
host had a very pleasant chat. Mr. Okuma had lived 
in Hawaii, and he told some things about Americans. 
Dr. Fujii talked a bit about the disaster. He said 
that Mr. Okuma and a nurse had gone into the ruins 
of his hospital and brought back a small safe which 
he had moved into his air-raid shelter. This contained 
soAie surgical instruments, and Dr. Fujii gave Father 
Cieslik a few pairs of scissors and tweezers for the 
rector at the Novitiate.^ Father Cieslik was bursting 
with some inside dope he had, but he waited until 



DETAILS ARE BEING INVESTIGATED 83 

the conversation turned naturally to the mystery of the 
bomb. Then he said he knew what kind of a bomb 
it was; he had the secret on the best authority 
that of a Japanese newspaperman who had dropped 
in at the Novitiate. The bomb was not a bomb at 
all ; it was a kind of fine magnesium powder sprayed 
over the whole city by a single plane, and it exploded 
when it came into contact with the live wires of the 
city power system. " That means," said Dr. Fujii, 
perfectly satisfied, since after all the information came 
from a newspaperman, " that it can only be dropped 
on big cities and only in the daytime, when the tram 
lines and so forth are in operation." 

After five days of ministering to the wounded in the 
park, Mr. Tanhnoto returned, on August llth, to his 
parsonage and dug around in the ruins. He retrieved 
some diaries and church records that had been kept in 
books and were only charred around the edges, as well 
as some cooking utensils and pottery. While he was 
at work, a Miss Tanaka came and said that her father 
had been asking for him. Mr. Tanimoto had reason 
to hate her father, the retired shipping-company 
official who, though he made a great show of his 
charity, was notoriously selfish and cruel, and who, 
just a few days before the bombing, had said openly 
to several people that Mr. Tanimoto was a spy for 
the Americans. Several times he had derided Christi- 
anity and called it un-Japanese. At the moment of the 
bombing, Mr. Tanaka had been walking in the street 
.in front of the city's radio station. He received 
serious flash burns, but he was able to walk home. 
He took refuge in his Neighbourhood Association 



84 HIROSHIMA 

shelter and from there tried hard to get ntedical aid. 
He expected all the doctors of Hiroshima to come to 
him, because he was so rich and so famous for giving 
his money away. When none of them came, he 
angrily set out to look for them; leaning on his 
daughter's arm, he walked from private hospital to 
private hospital, but all were in ruins, and he went 
back and lay down in the shelter again. Now he was 
very weak and knew he was going to die. He was 
willing to be comforted by any religion. 

Mr. Tanimoto went to help him. He descended into 
the tomblike shelter and, when his eyes were adjusted 
to the darkness, saw Mr. Tanaka, his face and arms 
puffed up and covered with pus and blood, and his 
eyes swollen shut. The old man smelled very bad, 
and he moaned constantly. He seemed to recognise 
Mr. Tanimoto's voice. Standing at the shelter stair- 
way to get light, Mr. Tanimoto read loudly from a 
Japanese-language pocket Bible : " For a thousand 
years in Thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, 
and as a watch in the night. Thou carriest the children 
of men away as with a flood ; they are as a sleep ; 
in the morning they are like grass which groweth up. 
In the morning it flourisheth and groweth up; in the 
evening it is cut down, and withereth. For we are 
consumed by Thine anger and by Thy wrath are we 
troubled. Thou hast set our iniquities before Thee, 
our secret sins in the light of Thy countenance. For 
all our days are passed away in Thy wrath : we spend 
our years as a tale that is told . . . ." 

Mr. Tanaka died as Mr. Tanimoto read the psalm. 

On August llth, word came to the Ninoshima 



DETAILS ARE BEING INVESTIGATED 85 

Military Hospital that a large number of casualties 
from the Chugoku Regional Army Headquarters were 
to arrive on the island that day, and it was deemed 
necessary to evacuate all civilian patients. Miss 
Sasaki, still running an alarmingly high fever, was put 
on a large ship. She lay out on deck, with a pillow 
under her leg. There were awnings over the deck 
but the vessel's course put her in the sunlight. She 
felt as if she were under a magnifying glass in the sun. 
Pus oozed out of her wound, and soon the whole pillow 
was covered with it. She was taken ashore at Hatsu- 
kaichi, a town several miles to the south-west of 
Hiroshima, and put in the Goddess of Mercy Primary 
School, which had been turned into a hospital. She 
lay there several days before a specialist on fractures 
came from Kobe. By then her leg was red and swollen 
up to her hip. The doctor decided he could not set 
the breaks. He made an incision and put in a rubber 
pipe to drain off the putrescence. 

At the Novitiate, the motherless Kataoka children 
were inconsolable. Father Cieslik worked hard to 
keep them distracted. He put riddles to them. He 
asked, " What is the cleverest animal in the world ? " 
and after the thirteen-year-old girl had guessed the 
ape, the elephant, the horse, he said, " No, it must 
be the hippopotamus," because in Japanese that 
animal is kaba, the reverse of baka, stupid. He ,told 
Bible stories, beginning, in the order of things, with 
the Creation. He showed them a scrapbook of 
snapshots taken in Europe. Nevertheless, they cried 
most of the time for their mother. 

Several days later, Father Cieslik started hunting 



86 HIROSHIMA 

for the children's family. . First, he learned through 
the police that an uncle had been to the authorities in 
Kure, a city not far away, to inquire for the children, 
After that, he heard that an older brother had been 
trying to trace them through the post office in Ujina, 
a ^suburb of Hiroshima. Still later, he heard Jhat the 
mother was alive and was on Goto Island, off Nagasaki. 
And at last, by keeping a check on the Ujina post 
office, he got in touch with the brother and returned 
the children to their mother. 

About a week after the bomb dropped, a vague, 
incomprehensible rumour reached Hiroshima that the 
city had been destroyed by the energy released when 
atoms were somehow split in two. The weapon 
was referred to in this word-of-mouth report as genshi 
bakudan the root characters of which can be trans- 
lated as " original child bomb." No one understood 
the idea or put any more credence in it than in the 
powdered magnesium and such things. Newspapers 
were being brought in from other cities, but they were 
still confining themselves to extremely general state- 
ments, such as Domei's assertion on August 12th: 
" There is nothing to do but admit the tremendous 
power of this inhuman bomb." Already, Japanese 
physicists had entered the city with Lauritsen electro- 
scopes and Neher electrometers; they understood the 
idea all too well. 

On August 12tV the Nakamuras, all of them still 
rather sick, went to the nearby town of Kabe and 
moved in with Mrs. Nakamura's sister-in-law. The 
next day, Mrs. Nakamura, although she was too ill 
to walk much, returned to Hiroshima jalone, by electric 



DETAILS ARE BEING INVESTIGATED 87 

car to the outskirts, by foot from there. All week, 
at the Novitiate, she had worried about her mother, 
brother, and older sister, who had lived in the part of 
town called Fukuro, and besides, she felt drawn by 
some fascination, just as Father Kleinsorge had been. 
She discovered that her family were all dead. She 
went back to Kabe so amazed and depressed by what 
she had seen and learned in the city that she could not 
speak that evening. 

A comparative orderliness, at least, began to be 
established at the Red Cross Hospital. Dr. Sasaki, 
back from his rest, undertook to classify his patients 
(who were still scattered everywhere, even on the stair- 
ways). The staif gradually swept up the debris. Best 
of all, the nurses and attendants started to remove 
the corpses. Disposal of the dead, by decent cremation 
and enshrinement, is a greater moral responsibility to 
the Japanese than adequate care of the living. Relatives 
identified most of the first day's dead in and around 
the hospital. Beginning on the second day, whenever 
a patient appeared to be moribund, a piece of paper 
with his name on it was fastened to his clothing. The 
corpse detail carried the bodies to a clearing outside, 
placed them on pyres of wood from ruined houses, 
burned them, put some of the ashes in envelopes 
intended for exposed X-ray plates, marked the envelopes 
with the names of the deceased, and piled them, neatly 
and respectfully, in stacks in the main office. In a few 
days, the envelopes filled one whole side of tjie im- 
promptu shrine. 

In Kabe, on the morning of August 1 5th, ten-year-old 
Toshio Nakamura heard an airplane overhead. He 



88 HIROSHIMA 

ran outdoors and identified it with a professional eye 
as a B-29. " There goes Mr. B !" he shouted. 

One of his relatives called out to him, " Haven't 
you had enough of Mr. B ?" 

The question had a kind of symbolism. At almost 
that very moment, the dull, dispirited voice of Hirohito, 
the Emperor Tenno, was speaking for the first time 
in history over the radio : " After pondering deeply 
the general trends of the world and the actual con- 
ditions obtaining in Our Empire to-day, We have 
decided to effect a settlement of the present situation 
by resorting to an extraordinary measure. . . ." 

Mrs. Nakamura had gone to the city again, to dig 
up some rice she had buried in her Neighbourhood 
Association air-raid shelter. She got it and started 
back for Kabe. On the electric car, quite by chance, 
she ran into her younger sister, who had not been 
in Hiroshima the day of the bombing. " Have you 
heard the news ?" her sister asked. 

" What news ?" 

" The war is over." 

" Don't say such a foolish thing, sister." 

" But I heard it over the radio myself." And then, 
in a whisper, " It was the Emperor's voice." 

44 Oh," Mrs. Nakamura said (she needed nothing 
more to make her give up thinking, in spite of the 
atomic bomb, that Japan still had a chance to win 
the war), " in that case . . ." 

Some time later, in a letter to an American, Mr. 
Tanimoto described the events of that morning. 4 * At 
the time of the Post- War, the marvellous thing in our 
history happened. Our Emperor broadcasted his own 



DETAILS ARE BEING INVESTIGATED 89 

voice through radio directly to us, common people of 
Japan. August 15th we were told that some news of 
great importance could be heard and all of us should 
hear it. So I went to Hiroshima railway station. 
There set a loudspeaker in the ruins of the station. 
Many civilians, all of them were in boundage, some 
being helped by shoulder of their daughters, some 
sustaining their injured feet by sticks, they listened to 
the broadcast and when they came to realize the fact 
that it was the Emperor, they cried with full tears in 
their eyes. ' What a wonderful blessing it is that Tenno 
himself call on us and we can hear his own voice in 
person. We are thoroughly satisfied in such a great 
sacrifice.' When they came to know the war was 
ended that is, Japan was defeated, they, of course, 
were deeply disappointed, but followed tffter their 
Emperor's commandment in calm spirit, making whole- 
hearted sacrifice for the everlasting peace of the world 
and Japan started her new way." 



IV 

PANIC GRASS AND FEVERFEW 

ON August 18th, twelve days after the bomb burst, 
Father Kleinsorge set out on foot for Hiroshima from 
the Novitiate with his papier-mache suitcase in his 
hand. He had begun to think that this bag, in which 
he kept his valuables, had a talismanic quality, because 
of the way he had found it after the explosion, standing 
handle-side up in the doorway of his room, while the 
desk under which he had previously hidden it was in 
splinters all over the floor. Now he was using it to 
carry the yen belonging to the Society of Jesus to the 
Hiroshima branch of the Yokohama Specie Bank, 
already re-opened in its half-ruined building. On 
the whole, he felt quite well that morning. It is true 
that the minor cuts he had received had not healed in 
three or four days, as the rector of the Novitiate, who 
had examined them, had positively promised they 
would, but Father Kleinsorge had rested well for a 
week and considered that he was again ready for hard 
work. By now he was accustomed to the terrible scene 
through which he walked on his way into the city: 
the large rice field near the Novitiate, streaked with 
brown ; the houses on the outskirts of the city, standing 
but decrepit, with broken windows and dishevelled 
tiles ; and then, quite suddenly, the beginning of the 
four square miles of reddish-brown scar, where nearly 
everything had been buffeted . down and burned ; 
range on range of collapsed city blocks, with here and 
there a crude sign erected on a pile of ashes and tiles 
(" Sister, where are you ?" or " All safe and we live 



PANIC GRASS AND FEVERFEW 91 

at Toyosaka ") ; naked trees and canted telephone 
poles; the few standing, gutted buildings only accen- 
tuating the horizontality of everything else (the Museum 
of Science and Industry, with its dome stripped to its 
steel frame, as if for an autopsy ; the modern Chamber 
of Commerce Building, its tower as cold, rigid, and 
unassailable after the blow as before; the huge, low- 
lying, camouflaged city hall ; the row of dowdy banks, 
caricaturing a shaken economic system); and in the 
streets a macabre traffic hundreds of crumpled 
bicycles, shells of street cars and automobiles, all 
halted in mid-motion. The whole way, Father Klein- 
sorgs was oppressed by the thought that all the damage 
he saw had been done in one instant by one bomb. 
By the time he reached the centre of town, the day 
had become very hot. He walked to the Yokohama 
Bank, which was doing business in a temporary 
wooden stall on the ground floor of its building, 
deposited the money, went by the mission compound 
just to have another look at the wreckage, and then 
started back to the Novitiate. About half-way there, 
he began to have peculiar sensations. The more or 
less magical suitcase, now empty, suddenly seemed 
terribly heavy. His knees grew weak. He felt excru- 
ciatingly tired. With a considerable expenditure of 
spirit, he managed to reach the Novitiate. He did 
not think his weakness was worth mentioning to the 
other Jesuits.. But a couple of days later, while attempt- 
ing to say Mass, he had an onset of faintness and even 
after three Attempts was unable to go through with 
the service, and the next morning the rector, who 
had examined Father Kleinsorge's apparently negli- 



92 HIROSHIMA 

gible but imhealed cuts daily, asked in surprise, " What 
have you done to your wounds ?" They had suddenly 
opened wider and were swollen and inflamed. 

As she dressed on the morning of August 20th, in 
the home of her sister-in-law in Kabe, not far from 
Nagatsuka, Mrs. Nakamura, who had suffered no cuts 
or burns at all, though she had been rather nauseated 
all through the week she and her children had spent 
as guests of Father Kleinsorge and the other Catholics 
at the Novitiate, began fixing her hair and noticed, 
after one stroke, that her comb carried with it a whole 
handful of hair; the second time, the same thing 
happened, so she stopped combing at once. But in 
the next three or four days, her hair kept falling out 
of its own accord, until she was quite bald. She began 
living indoors, practically in hiding. On August 26th, 
both she and her younger daughter, Myeko, woke up 
feeling extremely weak and tired, and they stayed on 
their bedrolls. Her son and other daughter, who had 
shared every experience with her during and after the 
bombing, felt fine. 

At about the same time he lost track of the days, 
so hard was he working to set up a temporary place 
of worship in a private house he had rented in the 
outskirts Mr. Tanimoto fell suddenly ill with a 
general malaise, weariness, and feverishness, and he, 
too, took to his bedroll on the floor of the half-wrecked 
house of a friend in the suburb of Ushida. 

These four did not realise it, but they were coming 
down with the strange, capricious disease which came 
later to be known as radiation sickness. 

Miss Sasaki lay in steady pain in the Goddess of 



PANIC GRASS AND FEVERFEW 93 

Mercy Primary School, at Hatsukaichi, the fourth 
station to the south-west of Hiroshima on the electric 
train. An internal infection still prevented the proper 
setting of the compound fracture of her lower left leg. 
A young man who was in the same hospital and who 
seemed to have grown fond of her in spite of her 
unremitting preoccupation with her suffering, or else 
just pitied her because of it, lent her a Japanese trans- 
lation of de Maupassant, and she tried to read the 
stories, but she could concentrate for only four or five 
minutes at a time. 

The hospitals and aid stations around Hiroshima 
were so crowded in the first weeks after the bombing, 
and their staffs were so variable, depending on their 
health and on the unpredictable arrival of outside 
help, that patients had to be constantly shifted from 
place to place. Miss Sasaki, who had already been 
moved three times, twice by ship, was taken at the end 
of August to an engineering school, also at Hatsu- 
kaichi. Because her leg did not improve but swelled 
more and more, the doctors at the school bound it 
with crude splints and took her by car, on September 
9th, to the Red Cross Hospital in Hiroshima. This 
was the first chance she had had to look at the ruins 
of Hiroshima; the last time she had been carried 
through the city's streets, she had been hovering on 
the edge of unconsciousness. Even though the wreckage 
had been described to her, and though she was still 
in pain, the sight horrified and amazed her, and there 
was something she noticed about it that particularly 
gave her the creeps. Over everything up through 
the wreckage of the city, in gutters, along the river 



94 HIROSHIMA 

banks, tangled among tiles and tin roofing, climbing 
on charred tree trunks was a blanket 6f fresh, vivid, 
lush, optimistic green ; the verdancy rose even from the 
foundations of ruined houses. Weeds already hid 
the ashes, and wild flowers were in bloom among the 
city's bones. The bomb had not only left the under- 
ground organs of plants intact ; it had stimulated them. 
Everywhere were bluets and Spanish bayonets, goose- 
foot, morning glories and day lilies, the hairy-fruited 
bean, purslane and clotbur and sesame and panic 
grass and feverfew. Especially in a circle at the centre, 
sickle senna grew in extraordinary regeneration, not 
only standing among the charred remnants of the same 
plant but pushing up in new places, among bricks and 
through cracks in the asphalt. It actually seemed as if 
a load of sickle-senna seed had been dropped along 
with the bomb. 

At the Red Cross Hospital, Miss Sasaki was put 
under the care of Dr. Sasaki. Now, a month after 
the explosion, something like order had been re- 
established in the hospital; which is to say that the 
patients who still lay in the corridors at least had mats 
to sleep on and that the supply of medicines, which 
had given out in the first few days, had been replaced, 
though inadequately, by contributions from other 
cities. Dr. Sasaki, who had had one seventeen-hour 
sleep at his home on the third night, had ever since 
then rested only about six hours a night, on a mat at 
the hospital ; he had lost twenty pounds from his very 
small body ; he still wore the ill-fitting glasses he had 
borrowed from an injured nurse. 

Since Miss Sasaki was a woman and was so sick 



PANIC GRASS AND FEVERFEW 95 

(and perhaps, he afterwards admitted, just a little bit 
because she was named Sasaki), Dr. Sasaki put her on 
a mat in a semi-private room, which at that time had 
only eight people in it. He questioned her and put 
down on her record card, in the correct, scrunched-up 
German in which he wrote all his records : " Mittel- 
grosse Paticntin in gut cm Ernahntngszustand. Fraktur 
am linken Unterschenkelknochen mil Wunde; Ansch- 
wellung in der linken Unterschenkelgegend. Haut und 
sichtbare Schleimhaute massig durchblutct und kein 
Oedema" noting that she was a medium-sized female 
patient in good general health; that she had a com- 
pound fracture of the left tibia, with swelling of the 
left lower leg; that her skin and visible mucous mem- 
branes were heavily spotted with petechiae, which are 
hemorrhages about the size of grains of rice, or even 
as big as soya beans ; and, in addition, that her head, 
eyes, throat, lungs, and heart were apparently normal ; 
and that she had a fever. He wanted to set her fracture 
and put her leg in a cast," but he had run out, of plaster 
of Paris long since, so he just stretched her out on a 
mat and prescribed aspirin for her fever, and glucose 
intravenously and diastase orally for her under- 
nourishment (which he had not entered on her record 
because everyone suffered from it). She exhibited only 
one of the queer symptoms so many of his patients 
were just then beginning to show -the spot hemorr- 
hages. 

Dr. Fujii was still pursued by bad luck, which still 
was connected with rivers. Now he was living in the 
summer house of Mr. Okuma, in Fukawa. This house 
clung to the steep banks of the Ota River. Here his 



J6 HIROSHIMA 

injuries seemed to make good progress, and he even 
began to treat refugees who came to him from the 
neighbourhood, using medical supplies he had retrieved 
from a cache in the suburbs. He noticed in some of 
his patients a curious syndrome of symptoms that 
cropped out in the third and fourth weeks, but he was 
not able to do much more than swathe cuts and burns. 
Early in September, it began to rain, steadily and 
heavily. The river rose. On September 17th, there 
came a cloudburst and then a typhoon, and the water 
crept higher and higher up the bank. Mr. Okuma and 
Dr. Fujii became alarmed and scrambled up the 
mountain to a peasant's house. (Down in Hiroshima, 
the flood took up where the bomb had left off 
swept away bridges that had survived the blast, washed 
out streets, undermined foundations of buildings that 
still stood and ten miles to the west, the Ono Army 
Hospital, where a team of experts from Kyoto Imperial 
University was, studying the delayed affliction of the 
patients, suddenly slid down a beautiful, pine-dark 
mountainside into the Inland Sea and drowned most 
of the investigators and their mysteriously diseased 
patients alike.) After the storm, Dr. Fujii and Mr. 
Okuma went down to the river and found that the 
Okuma house had been washed altogether away. 

Because so many people were suddenly feeling sick 
nearly a month after the atomic bomb was dropped, 
an unpleasant rumour began to move around, and 
eventually it made its way to the house in Kabe where 
Mrs. Nakamura lay bald and ill. It was that the atomic 
bomb had deposited some sort of poison on Hiroshima 
which would give off deadly emanations for seven 



PANIC GRASS AND FEVERFEW 97 

years; nobody could go there all that time. This 
especially upset Mrs. Nakamura, who remembered 
that in a moment of confusion on the morning of the 
explosion she had literally sunk her entire means of 
livelihood, her Sankoku sewing machine, in the small 
cement water tank in front of what was left of her 
house; now no one would be able to go and fish it 
out. Up to this time, Mrs. Nakamura and her relatives 
had been quite resigned and passive about the moral 
issue of the atomic bomb, but this rumour suddenly 
aroused them to more hatred and resentment of 
America than they had felt all through the war. 

Japanese physicists, who knew a great deal about 
atomic fission (one of them owned a cyclotron), 
worried about lingering radiation at Hiroshima, and 
in mid-August, not many days after President Truman's 
disclosure of the typeof bomb that had been dropped, 
they entered the city to make investigations. The first 
thing they did was roughly to determine a centre by 
observing the side on which telephone poles all round 
the heart of the town wese scorched ; they settled on 
the torii gateway of the Gokoku Shrine, right next to 
the parade ground of the Chugoku Regional Army 
Headquarters. From there, they worked north and 
south with Lauritsen electroscopes, which are sensitive 
to both beta rays and gamma rays. These indicated 
that the highest intensity of radio-activity, near the 
torii, was 4.2 times the average natural "leak" of 
ultra-short waves for the earth of that area. The 
scientists noticed that the flash of the bomb had; 
discoloured concrete to a light reddish tint, had scaled 1 
off the surface of granite, and had scorched certain 



98 HIROSHIMA 

other types of building material, and that consequently 
the bomb had, in some places, left prints of the shadows 
that had been cast by its light. The experts found, for 
instance, a permanent shadow thrown on the roof of 
the Chamber of Commerce Building (220 yards from 
the rough centre) by the structure's rectangular tower ; 
several others in the look-out post on top of the 
Hypothec Bank (2,050 yards); another in the tower 
of the Chugoku Electric Supply Building (800 yards) ; 
another projected by the handle of a gas pump (2,630 
yards); and several on granite tombstones in the 
Gokoku Shrine (385 yards). By triangulating these 
and other such shadows with the objects that formed 
them, the scientists determined that the exact centre 
was a spot a hundred and fifty yards south of the torii 
and a few yards south-east of the pile of ruins that 
had once been the Shima Hospital. (A few vague 
human silhouettes were found, and these gave rise to 
stories that eventually included fancy and precise 
details. One story told how a painter on a ladder was 
monumentalized in a kind *of bas-relief on the stone 
facade of a bank building on which he was at work, 
in the act of .dipping his brush into his paint can; 
another, how a man and his cart on the bridge near 
the Museum of Science and Industry, almost under 
the centre of the explosion, were cast down in an 
embossed shadow which made it clear that the man 
was about to whip his horse.) Starting east and west 
from the actual centre, the scientists, in early September, 
made new measurements, and the highest radiation 
they found this time was 3.9 times the natural " leak." 
Since radiation of at least a thousand times the natural 



PANIC GRASS AND FEVERFEW 99 

" leak " would be required to cause serious effects on 
the human body, the scientists announced that people 
could enter Hiroshima without any peril at all. 

As soon as this reassurance reached the household 
in which Mrs. Nakamura was concealing herself or, 
at any rate, within a short time after her hair had 
started growing back again her whole family relaxed 
their extreme hatred of America, and Mrs. Nakamura 
sent her brother-in-law to look for the sewing machine. 
It was still submerged in the water tank, and when he 
brought it home, she saw, to her dismay, that it was 
all rusted and useless. 

By the end of the first week in September, Father 
Kleinsorge was in bed at the Novitiate with a fever of 
102.2, and since he seemed to be getting worse, his 
colleagues decided to send him to the Catholic Inter- 
national Hospital in Tokyo. Father Cieslik and the 
rector took him as far as Kobe and a Jesuit from that 
city took him the rest of the way, with a message 
from a Kobe doctor to the Mother Superior of the 
International Hospital : " Think twice before you give 
this man blood transfusions, because with atomic- 
bomb patients we aren't at all sure that, if you stick 
needles in them, they'll stop bleeding." 

When Father Kleinsorge arrived at the hospital, he 
was terribly pale and very shaky. He complained that 
the bomb had upset his digestion and given him 
abdominal pains. His white blood count was three 
thousand (five to seven thousand is normal), he was 
seriously anaemic, and his temperature was 104. A 
doctor who did not know much about these strange 
manifestations Father Kleinsorge was one of a handful 



100 HIROSHIMA 

of atomic patients who had reached Tokyo came to 
see him, and to the patient's face he was most encour- 
aging. " You'll be out of here in two weeks," he said. 
But when the doctor got out in the corridor, he said 
to the Mother Superior, " He'll die. All these bomb 
people die you'll see. They go along for a couple of 
weeks and then they die." 

The doctor prescribed suralimentation for Father 
Kleinsorge. Every three hours, they forced some eggs 
or beef juice into him, and they fed him all the sugar 
he could stand. They gave him vitamins, and iron pills 
and arsenic (in Fowler's solution) for his anaemia. 
He confounded both the doctor's predictions; he 
neither died nor got up in a fortnight. Despite the 
fact that the message from the Kobe doctor deprived 
him of transfusions, which would have been the most 
useful therapy of all, his fever and his digestive troubles 
cleared up fairly quickly. His white count went up for 
a while, but early in October it dropped again, to 
3,600; then, in ten days, it suddenly climbed above 
normal, to 8,800; and it finally settled at 5,800. His 
ridiculous scratches puzzled everyone. For a few days, 
they would ipend, and then, when he moved around, 
they would open up again. As soon as he began to 
feel well, he enjoyed himself tremendously. In Hiro- 
shima he had been one of thousands of sufferers ; in 
Tokyo he was a curiosity. Young American Army 
doctors came by the dozen to observe him. Japanese 
experts questioned him. A newspaper interviewed 
him. And once, the confused doctor came and shook 
his head and said, " Baffling cases, these atomic-bomb 
people." 



PANIC GRASS AND FEVERFEW 101 

Mrs. Nakamura lay indoors with Myeko. They 
both continued sick, and though Mrs. Nakamura 
vaguely sensed that their* trouble was caused by the 
bomb, she was too poor to see a doctor and so never 
knew exactly what the matter was. Without any 
treatment at all, but merely resting, they began gradually 
to feel better. Some of Myeko's hair fell out, and she 
had a tiny burn on her arm which took months to 
heal. The boy, Toshio, and the older girl, Yaeko, 
seemed well enough, though they, too, lost some hair 
and occasionally had bad headaches. Toshio was still 
having nightmares, always about the nineteen-year-old 
mechanic, Hideo Osaki, his hero, who had been killed 
by the bomb. 

On his back with a fever of 104, Mr. Tanimoto 
worried about all the funerals he ought to be conducting 
for the deceased of his church. He thought he was just 
overtired from the hard work he had done since the 
bombing, but after the fever had persisted for a few 
days, he sent for a doctor. The doctor was too busy 
to visit him in Ushida, but he dispatched a nurse, who 
recognized his symptoms as those of mild radiation 
disease and came back from time to time to give him 
injections of Vitamin B . A Buddhist priest with 
whom Mr. Tanimoto was acquainted called on him 
and suggested that moxibustion might give him 
relief; the priest showed the pastor how to give himself 
the ancient Japanese treatment, by setting fire to a 
twist of the stimulant herb moxa placed on the wrist 
pulse. Mr. Tanimoto found that each moxa treatment 
temporarily reduced his fever one degree. The nurse 
had told him to eat as much as possible, and every 



102 HIROSHIMA t 

few days his mother-in-law brought him vegetables 
and fish from Tsuzu, twenty miles away, where she 
lived. He spent a month in bed, and then went ten 
hours by train to his father's home in Shikoku. There 
he rested another month. 

Dr. Sasaki and his colleagues at the Red Cross 
Hospital watched the unprecedented disease unfold 
and at last evolved a theory about its nature. It had, 
they decided, three stages. The first stage had been 
all over before the doctors even knew they were dealing 
with a new sickness; it was the direct reaction to the 
bombardment of the body, at the moment when 
the bomb went off, by neutrons, beta particles, and 
gamma rays. The apparently uninjured people who 
had died so mysteriously in the first few hours or days 
had succumbed in this first stage. It killed ninety-five 
per cent, of the people within a half mile of the centre, 
and many thousands who were farther away. The 
doctors realized in retrospect that even though most 
of these dead had also suffered from burns and blast 
effects, they had absorbed enough radiation to kill 
them. The rays simply destroyed body cells caused 
their nuclei to degenerate and broke their walls. Many 
people who did not die right away came down with 
nausea, headache, diarrhoea, malaise, and fever, which 
lasted several days. Doctors could not be Certain 
whether some of these symptoms were the result of 
radiation or nervous shock. The second stage set in 
ten or fifteen days after the bombing. The main 
symptom was falling hair* Diarrhoea and fever, which 
in some cases went as high as 106, came next. Twenty- 
five to thirty days after the explosion, blood disorders 



PANIC GRASS AND FEVERFEW 103 

appeared: gums bled, tlie white-blood-cell count 
dropped sharply, and petechiae appeared on the skin 
and mucous membranes. The drop in the number o( 
white blood corpuscles reduced the patient's capacity 
to resist infection, so open wounds were unusually 
slow in healing and many of the sick developed sore 
throats and mouths. The two key symptoms, on which 
the doctors came to base their prognosis, were fever 
and the lowered white-corpuscle count. If fever 
remained steady and high, the patient's chances for 
survival were poor. The white count almost always 
dropped below four thousand; a patient whose count 
fell below one thousand had little hope of living. 
Toward the end of the second stage, if the patient 
survived, anaemia, or a drop in the red blood count, 
also set in. The third stage was the reaction that came 
when the body struggled to compensate for its ills 
when, for instance, the white count not only returned 
to normal but increased to much higher than normal 
levels. In this stage, many patients died of complica- 
tions, such as infections in the chest cavity. Most 
burns healed with deep layers of pink, rubbery scar 
tissue, known as keloid tumours. The duration of the 
disease varied, depending on the patient's constitution 
and the amount of radiation he had received. Some 
victims recovered in a week; with others the disease 
dragged on for months. 

As the symptoms revealed themselves, it became 
clear that many of them resembled the effects of over- 
doses of X-ray, and the doctors based their therapy 
on that likeness. They gave victims liver extract, 
blood transfusions, and vitamins, especially B r The 



104 HIROSHIMA 

shortage of supplies and instruments hampered them. 
Allied doctors who came in after the surrender found 
plasma and penicillin very effective. Since the blood 
disorders were, in the long run, the predominant 
factor in the disease, some of the Japanese doctors 
evolved a theory as to the seat of the delayed sickness. 
They thought that perhaps gamma rays, entering the 
body at the time of the explosion, made the phos- 
phorus in the victims' bones radio-active, and that 
they in turn emitted beta particles, which, though they 
could not penetrate far through flesh, could enter the 
bone marrow, where blood is manufactured, and 
gradually tear it down. Whatever its source, the 
disease had some baffling quirks. Not all the patients 
exhibited all the main symptoms. People who suffered 
flash burns were protected, to a considerable extent, 
from radiation sickness. Those who had lain quietly 
for days or even hours after the bombing were much 
less liable to get sick than those who had been active. 
Grey hair seldom fell out. And, as if nature were 
protecting man against his own ingenuity, the repro- 
ductive processes were affected for a time ; men became 
sterile, women had miscarriages, menstruation stopped. 
For ten days after the flood, Dr. Fujii lived in the 
peasant's house on the mountain above the Ota. 
Then he heard about a vacant private clinic in Kaitaichi, 
a suburb to the east of Hiroshima, He bought it at 
once, moved there, and hung out a sign inscribed in 
English, in honour of the conquerors : 

M. FUJII, M.D. 

MEDICAL AND VENEREAL 

Quite recovered from his wounds, he soon built up 



PANIC GRASS AND FEVERFEW 105 

a strong practice, and he was delighted, in the evenings, 
to receive members of the occupying forces, on whom 
he lavished whisky and practised English. 

Giving Miss Sasaki a local anaesthetic of procaine, 
Dr. Sasaki made an incision in her leg on October 
23rd, to drain the infection, which still lingered on 
eleven weeks after the injury. In the following days, 
so much pus formed that he had to dress the opening 
each morning and evening. A week later, she com- 
plained of great pain, so he made another incision; he 
cut still a third, on November 9th, and enlarged it on 
the twenty-sixth. All this time, Miss Sasaki grew, 
weaker and weaker, and her spirits fell low. One day, 
the young man who had lent her his translation of 
de Maupassant at Hatsukaichi came to visit her; he 
told her that he was going to Kyushu but that when 
he came back, he would like to see her again. She 
didn't care. Her leg had been so swollen and painful 
all along that the doctor had not even tried to set the 
fractures, and though an X-ray taken in November 
showed that the bones were mending, she could see 
under the sheet that her left leg was nearly three inches 
shorter than her right and that her left foot was 
turning inward. She thought often of the man to 
whom she had been engaged. Someone told her he 
was back from overseas. She wondered what he had 
heard about her injuries that made him stay away. 

Father Kleinsorge was discharged from the hospital 
in Tokyo on December 19th and took a train home. 
On the way, two days later, at Yokogawa, a stop just 
before Hiroshima, Dr. Fujii boarded the train. It was 
the first time the two men had met since before the 



106 HIROSHIMA 

bombing. They sat together. Dr. Fuji! said he was 
going to the annual gathering of his family, on the 
anniversary of his father's death. When they started 
talking about their experiences, the Doctor was quite 
entertaining as he told how his places of residence 
kept falling into rivers. Then he asked Father Klein- 
sorge how he was, and the Jesuit talked about his stay 
in the hospital. " The doctors told me to be cautious," 
he said. " They ordered me to have a two-hour nap 
every afternoon." 

Dr. Fujii said, *' It's hard to be cautious in Hiro- 
shima these days. Everyone seems to be so busy." 

A new municipal government, set up under Allied 
Military Government direction, had gone to work at 
last in the city hall. Citizens who had recovered from 
various degrees of radiation sickness were coming 
back by the thousand by November 1st, the popula- 
tion, mostly crowded into the outskirts, was already 
1217,000, more than a third of the war-time peak 
and the government set in motion all kinds of projects 
to put them to work rebuilding the city. It hired men 
to clear the streets, and others to gather scrap iron, 
which they sorted and piled in mountains opposite 
the city hall. Some returning residents were putting 
up their own shanties and huts, and planting small 
squares of winter wheat beside them, but the city also 
authorised and built four hundred one-family 
** barracks." Utilities were repaired electric lights 
shone again, trams started running, and employees of 
the waterworks fixed seventy thousand leaks in mains 
and plumbing. A Planning Conference, with an 
enthusiastic young Military Government officer^. 



PANIC GRASS AND FEVERFEW 107 

Lieutenant John D. Montgomery, of Kalamazoo, as 
its adviser, began to consider what sort of city the 
new Hiroshima shoutd be. The ruined city had 
flourished and had been an inviting target mainly 
because it had been one of the most important military- 
command and communications 'centres in Japan, and 
would have become the Imperial headquarters had 
the islands been invaded and Tokyo been captured. 
Now there would be no huge military establishments 
to help revive the city. The Planning Conference, at 
a loss as to just what importance Hiroshima could 
have, fell back on rather vague cultural and paving 
projects. It drew maps with avenues a hundred yards 
wide and thought seriously of preserving the half- 
ruined Museum of Science and Industry more or less 
as it was, as a monument to the disaster, and naming 
it the Institute of International Amity. Statistical 
workers gathered what figures they could on the effects 
of the bomb. They reported that 78,150 people had 
been killed, 13,983 were missing, and 37,425 had been 
injured. No one in the city government pretended 
that these figures were accurate though the Americans 
accepted them as official and as the months went by 
and more and more hundreds of corpses were dug up 
from the ruins, and as the number of unclaimed urns 
of ashes at the Zempoji Temple in Koi rose into the 
thousands, the statisticians began to say that at least 
a hundred thousand people had lost their lives in the 
bombing. Since many people died of a combination 
of causes, it was impossible to figure exactly how 
many were killed by each cause, but the statisticians 
calculated that about twenty-five per cent, had died ot 



108 HIROSHIMA 

direct burns from the bomb, about fifty per cent, from 
other injuries, and about twenty per cent, as a result 
of radiation effects. The statisticians' figures on 
property damage were more reliable: sixty-two thou- 

1 sand out of ninety thousand buildings destroyed, 
and six thousand more damaged beyond repair. In the 
heart of the city, they found only five modern 
buildings that could be used again without major 
repairs. This small number was by no means the fault 
of flimsy Japanese construction. In fact, since the 
1923 earthquake, Japanese building regulations had 
required that the roof of each large building be 
able to bear a minimum load of seventy pounds per 

. square foot, whereas American regulations do not 
normally specify more than forty pounds per square 

; foot. 

Scientists swarmed into the city. Some of them 
measured the force that had been necessary to shift 
marble gravestones in the cemeteries, to knock over 
twenty-two of the forty-seven railroad cars in the 
yards at Hiroshima station, to lift and move the 
concrete roadway on one of the bridges, and to perform 
other noteworthy acts of strength, and concluded that 
the pressure exerted by the explosion varied from 5.3 
to 8.0 tons per square yard. Others found that mica, 
of which the melting point is 900 C., had fused on 
granite gravestones three hundred and eighty yards 
from the centre ; that telephone poles of Cryptomeria 
iaponica, whose carbonisation temperature is 240 C., 
had been charred at forty-four hundred yards from 
the centre ; and that the surface of grey clay tiles of 
the type used in Hiroshima, whose melting point is 



PANIC GRASS AND FEVERFEW 109 

1,300C, had dissolved at six hundred yards; and 
after examining other significant ashes and melted 
bits, they concluded* that the bomb's heat on the 
ground at the centre must have been 6,000 C. And 
from further measurements of radiation, which 
involved, among other things, the scraping up of 
fission fragments from roof troughs and drainpipes as 
far away as the suburb of Takasu, thirty-three hundred 
yards from the centre, they learned some far more 
important facts about the nature of the bomb. Genera- 
MacArthur's headquarters systematically censored all 
mention of the bomb in Japanese scientific publical 
tions, but soon the fruit of the scientists' calculations 
became common knowledge among Japanese physicists, 
doctors, chemists, journalists, professors, and, no doubt, 
those statesmen and military men who were still in 
circulation. Long before the American public had 
been told, most of the scientists and lots of non-scientists 
in Japan knew from the calculations of Japanese 
nuclear physicists that a uranium bomb had exploded 
at Hiroshima and a more powerful one, of plutonium, 
at Nagasaki. They also knew that theoretically one 
ten times as powerful or twenty could be developed. 
The Japanese scientists thought they knew the exact 
height at which the bomb at Hiroshima was exploded 
and the approximate weight of the uranium used. 
They estimated that, even with the primitive bomb used 
at Hiroshima, it would require a shelter of concrete 
fifty inches thick to protect a human being entirely 
from radiation sickness. The scientists had these and 
other details which remained subject to security ip the 
United States printed and mimeographed and bound 



110 HIROSHIMA 

into little books. The Americans knew of the existence 
of these, but tracing them and seeing that they did 
not fall into the wrong hands would have obliged the 
occupying authorities to set up, for this one purpose 
alone, an enormous police system in Japan. Altogether, 
the Japanese scientists were somewhat amused at the 
efforts of their conquerors to keep security on atomic 
fission. 

Late in February, 1946, a friend of Miss Sasaki's 
called on Father Kleinsorge and asked him to visit 
her in the hospital. She had been growing more and 
more depressed and morbid ; she seemed little interested 
in living. Father Kleinsorge went to see her several 
times. On his first visit, he kept the conversation 
general, formal, and yet vaguely sympathetic, and did 
not mention religion. Miss Sasaki herself brought 
it up the second time he dropped in on her. Evidently 
she had had some talks with a Catholic. She asked 
bluntly, '* If your God is so good and kind, how can 
he let people 'suffer like this ?" She made a gesture 
which took in her shrunken leg, the other patients in 
her room, and Hiroshima as a whole. 

" My child," Father Kleinsorge said, " man is not 
now in the condition God intended. He has fallen 
from grace through sin." And he went on to explain 
all the reasons for everything. 

It came to Mrs. Nakamura's attention that a 
carpenter from Kabe was building a number of wooden 
shanties in Hiroshima which he rented for fifty yen a 
month $3.33, at the fixed rate of exchange. Mrs. 
Nakamura had lost the certificates for her bonds and 
other wartime savings, but fortunately she had copied 



PANIC GRASS AND FEVERFEW 111 

off all the numbers just a few days before the bombing 
and had taken the list to Kabe, and so, when her hair 
had grown in enough for her to be presentable, she 
went to her bank in Hiroshima, and a clerk there 
told her that after checking her numbers against the 
records the bank would give her her money. As soon as 
she got it, she rented one of the carpenter's shacks. 
It was in Nobori-cho, near the site of her former house, 
and though its floor was dirt and it was dark inside, 
it was at least a home in Hiroshima, and she was no 
longer dependent on the charity of her in-laws. During 
the spring, she cleared away some nearby wreckage 
and planted a vegetable garden. She cooked with 
utensils and ate off plates she scavenged from the 
debris. She sent Myeko to the kindergarten which the 
Jesuits reopened, and the two older children attended 
Nobori-cho Primary School, which, for want of 
buildings, held classes out of* doors. Toshio wanted 
to study to be a mechanic, like his hero, Hideo Osaki. 
Prices were high; by midsummer Mrs. Nakamura's 
savings were gone. She sold some of her clothes 
to get food. She had once had several expensive 
kimonos, but during the war one had been stolen, 
she had given one to a sister who had been bombed 
out in Tokuyama, she had lost a couple in the Hiro- 
shima bombing, and now she sold her last one. It 
brought only a^ hundred yen, which did not last long. 
In June, she went to Father Kleinsorge for advice 
about how to get along, and in early August, she was 
still considering the two alternatives he suggested 
taking work as a Domestic for some of the Allied 
occupation forces, or borrowing from her relatives 



112 HIROSHIMA 

enough money, about five hundred yen, or a bit more 
than thirty dollars, to repair her rusty sewing machine 
and resume the work of a seamstress. 

When Mr. Tanimoto returned from Shikoku, he 
draped a tent he owned over the roof of the badly 
damaged house he had rented in Ushida. The roof 
still leaked, but he conducted services in the damp 
living-room. He began thinking about raising money 
to restore his church in the city. He became quite 
friendly with Father Kleinsorge and saw the Jesuits 
often. *He envied them their Church's wealth; they 
seemed to be able to do anything they wanted. He 
had nothing to work with except his own energy, 
and that was not what it had been. 

The Society of Jesus had been the first institution 
to build a relatively permanent shanty in the ruins 
of Hiroshima. That had been while Father Kleinsorge 
was in the hospital. A* soon as he got back, he began 
living in the shack, and he and another priest, Father 
Laderman, who had joined him in the mission, arranged 
for the purchase of three of the standardised 
" barracks," which the city was selling at seven 
thousand yen apiece. They put two together, end 
to end, and made a pretty chapel of them ; they ate 
in the third. When materials were available, they 
commissioned a contractor to build a three-storey 
mission house exactly like the one that had been 
destroyed in the fire. In the compound, carpenters 
cut timbers, gouged mortises, shaped tenons, whittled 
scores of wooden pegs and bored holes for them, 
until ail the parts for the house^vere in a neat pile; 
then, in three days, they put the whole thing together; 



PANIC GRASS AND FEVERFEW 113 

like an Oriental puzzle, without any nails at all. Father 
Kleinsorge was finding it hard, as Dr. Fujii had 
suggested he would,, to be cautious and to take his 
naps. He went out every day on foot to call on 
Japanese Catholics and prospective converts. As the 
months went by, he grew more and more tired. In 
June, he read an article in the Hiroshima Chugoku 
warning survivors against working too hard but 
what could he do ? By July, he was worn out, and 
early in August, almost exactly on the anniversary of 
the bombing, he went back to the Catholic Inter- 
national Hospital, in Tokyo, for a month's rest. 

Whether or not Father Kleinsorge's answers to Miss 
Sasaki's questions about life were final and absolute 
truths, she seemed quickly to draw physical strength 
from them. Dr. Sasaki noticed it and congratulated 
Father Kleinsorge. By April 15th, her temperature 
and white count were normal and the infection in the 
wound was beginning to clear up. On the twentieth, 
there was almost no pus, and for the first time she 
jerked along a corridor on crutches. Five days later, 
the wound had begun to heal, and on the last day of 
the month she was discharged. 

During the early summer, she prepared herself for 
conversion to Catholicism. In that period she had 
ups and downs. Her depressions were deep. She 
knew she would always be a cripple. Her fiance 
never came to see her. There was nothing for her 
to do*except read and look out, from her house on a 
hillside in Koi, across the ruins of the city where her 
parents and brother died. She was nervous, and any 
sudden noise made her put her hands quickly to her 



114 HIROSHIMA 

throat. Her leg still hurt; she rubbed it often and 
patted it, as if to console it. 

It took six months for the Red Cross Hospital, and 
even longer for Dr. Sasaki to get back to normal. 
Until the city restored electric power, the hospital 
had to limp along with the aid of a Japanese Army 
generator in its back yard. Operating tables, X-ray 
machines, dentist chairs, everything complicated and 
essential came in a trickle of charity from other cities. 
In Japan, face is important even to institutions, and 
long before the Red Cross Hospital was back to par 
on basic medical equipment, its directors put up a new 
yellow brick veneer fagade, so the hospital became 
the handsomest building in Hiroshima from the 
street. For the first four months, Dr. Sasaki was the 
only surgeon on the staff and he almost never left the 
building ; then, gradually, he began to take an interest 
in his own life again. He got married in March. He 
gained back some of the weight he lost, but his appetite 
remained only Fair; before the bombing, he used to 
eat four rice balls at every meal, but a year after it 
he could manage only two. He felt tired all the time. 
"But I have to realise," he said, "that the whole 
community is tired." 

A year after the bomb was dropped, Miss Sasaki 
was a cripple ; Mrs. Nakamura was destitute ; Father 
Kleinsorge was back in the hospital ; Dr. Sasaki was 
not capable of the work he once could do ; Dr, Fujii 
had lost the thirty-room hospital it took him many 
years to acquire, and had no prospects of rebuilding 
it ; Mr. Tanimoto's church had been ruined and he no 
longer had his exceptional vitality. The lives of these 



PANIC GRASS AND FEVERFEW 115 

six people, who were among the luckiest in Hiroshima, 
would never be the same. What they thought of their 
experiences and tile use of the atomic bomb was, of 
course, not unanimous. One feeling they did seem 
to share, however, was a curious kind of elated com- 
munity spirit, something like that of the Londoners 
after their blitz a pride in the way they and their 
fellow-survivors had stood up to a dreadful ordeal. 
Just before the anniversary, Mr. Tanimoto wrote in a 
letter to an American some words which expressed 
this feeling: "What a heartbreaking scene this was 
the first night ! About midnight I landed on the river- 
bank. So many injured people lay on the ground 
that I made my way by striding over them. Repeating 
" Excuse me," I forwarded and carried a tub of water 
with me and gave a cup of water to each one of them. 
They raised their upper bodies slowly and accepted 
a cup of water with a bow and drunk quietly and, 
spilling any remnant, gave back a cup with hearty 
expression of their thankfulness, and said, ' 1 couldn't 
help my sister, wno was buried under the house, 
because I had to take care of my mother who got a 
deep wound on her eye and our house soon set fire 
and we hardly escaped. Look, I lost my home, my 
family, and at last myself bitterly injured. But now 
I have got my mind to dedicate what I have and to 
complete the war for our country's sake.' Thus 
they pledged to me, even women and children did the 
same. Being entirely tired I lied down on the ground 
among them, but couldn't sleep at all. Next morning 
I found many men and women dead, whom I gave 
water last night But, to my great surprise, I never 



116 HIROSHIMA 

heard any one cry in disorder, even though they 
suffered in great agony. They died in silence, with no 
grudge, setting their teeth to bear it. All for the 
country ! 

" Dr. Y. Hiraiwa, professor of Hiroshima University 
of Literature and Science, and one of my church 
members, was buried by the bomb under the two- 
storied house with his son, a student of Tokyo Uni- 
versity. Both of them could not move an inch under 
tremendously heavy pressure. And the house already 
caught fire. His son said, ' Father, we can do nothing* 
except nake our mind up to consecrate our lives for 
the country. Let us give Banzai to our Emperor.' 
Then the father followed after his son, ' Tenno-heika, 
Banzai, Banzai, Banzai ! ' In the result, Dr. Hiraiwa 
said, * Strange to say, I felt calm and bright and peace- 
ful spirit in my heart, when I chanted Banzai to T6nno.' 
Afterwards his son got out and digged down and pulled 
out his father and thus they were saved. In thinking 
of their experience of that time Dr. Hiraiwa repeated, 
4 What a fortunate that we are Japanese ! It was my 
first time I ever tasted such a beautiful spirit when 1 
decided to die for our Emperor.' 

" Miss Kayoko Nobutojd, a student of girl's high 
school, Hiroshima Jazabuin, and a daughter of my 
church member, was taking rest with her friends beside 
the heavy fence of the Buddhist Temple. At the 
moment the atomic bomb was dropped, the fence 
fell upon them. They could not move a bit under 
such a heavy fence and then smoke entered into even 
a crack and choked their breath. One of the girls 
begun to sing Kimi ga yo, national anthem, and others 



PANIC GRASS AND FEVERFEW 117 

followed in chorus and died. Meanwhile one of them 
found a crack and struggled hard to get out. When 
she was taken in the Red Cross Hospital she told how 
her friends died, tracing back in her memory to singing 
in chorus our national anthem. They were just 
thirteen years old. 

" Yes, people of Hiroshima died manly in the 
atomic bombing, believing that it was for Emperor's 
sake." 

A surprising number of the people of Hiroshima 
remained more or less indifferent about the ethics of 
using the bomb. Possibly they were too terrified by it 
to want to think about it at all. Not many of them 
even bothered to find out much about what it was like. 
Mrs. Nakamura's conception of it and awe of it- 
was typical. " The atom bomb," she would say 
when asked about it, " is the size of a matchbox. The 
heat of it was six thousand times that of the sun. It 
exploded in the air. There is some radium in it. I 
don't know just how it works, but when the radium is 
put together, it explodes." As for the use of the 
bomb, she would say, " It was war and we had to 
expect it." And then she would add, " Shikata ga 
nai" a Japanese expression as common as, and corres- 
ponding to, the Russian word " nichevo " : " It can't 
be helped. Oh, well. Too bad." Dr. Fujii said 
approximately the same thing about the use of the 
bomb to Father Kleinsorge one evening, in German : 
44 Da ist nichts zu machen. There's nothing to be 
done about it." 

Many citizens of Hiroshima, however, continued 
to feel a hatred for Americans which nothing could 



118 HIROSHIMA 

possibly erase. " I see," Dr. Sasaki once said, ** that 
they are holding a trial for war criminals in Tokyo 
just now. I think they ought to try the men who 
decided to use the bomb and they should hang them 
all." 

Father Kleinsorge and the other German Jesuit 
priests, who, as foreigners, could be expected to take a 
relatively detached view, often discussed the ethics of 
using the bomb. One of them, Father Siemes, who 
was out at Nagatsuka at the time of the attack, wrote 
in a report to the Holy See in Rome, " Some of us 
consider the bomb in the same category as poison 
gas and were against its use on a civilian population. 
Others were of the opinion that in total war, as carried 
on in Japan, there was no difference between civilians 
and soldiers, and that the bomb itself was an effective 
force tending to end the bloodshed, warning Japan to 
surrender and thus to avoid total destruction. It 
seems logical that he who supports total war in principle 
cannot complain of a war against civilians. The crux 
of the matter is whether total war in its present form 
is justifiable, even when it serves a just purpose. Does 
it not have material and spiritual evil as its consequences 
which far exceed whatever good might result ? When 
will our moralists give us a clear answer to this 
question ? " 

It would be impossible to say what horrors were 
embedded in the minds of the children who lived 
through the day of ihe bombing in Hiroshima. On 
the surface their recollections, months after the disaster, 
were of an exhilarating adventure. Toshio Nakamura, 
who was ten at the time of the bombing, was soon 



PANIC GRASS AND FEVERFEW 119 

able to talk freely, even gaily, about the experience, 
and a few weeks before the anniversary he wrote the 
following matter-of-fact essay for his teacher at 
Nobori-cho Primary School: "The day before the 
bomb, I went for a swim. In the morning, I was 
eating peanuts. I saw a light. I was knocked to 
little sister's sleeping place. When we were saved 
I could only see as far as the tram. My mother and I 
started to pack our things. The neighbours were 
walking around burned and bleeding. Hataya-,swz 
told me to run away with her. I said 1 wanted to 
wait for my mother. We went to the park. A 
whirlwind came. At night a gas tank burned and I 
saw the reflection in the river. We stayed in the park 
one night. Next day I went to Taiko Bridge and met 
my girl friends Kikuki and Murakami. They were 
looking for their mothers. But Kikuki's mother was 
wounded and Murakami's mother, alas, was dead." 



RECENT AND FORTHCOMING 
PENG UINS 



THE ANATOMY OF PEACE 

BY EMERY REVES 

IN a book destined to startle by the very nature of its simply- 
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Since its first publication in June, 1945, over 150,000 copies 
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BY R. W. COOPER 

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THIS popular but full account of the epoch-making trial ot 
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A PENGUIN BOOK 
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WHY SMASH ATOMS? 

A. K. SOLOMON 

WHAT we to-day calJ atom-smashing, the scientists ot the 
Middle Ages called transmutation, a change in the kernel of 
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Dr. Solomon, who has taken an active part in the work 01 
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nature, purpose, and results ol these epoch-making advances. 
This is popular science in the best sense of the term, a volume 
that reveals to the non-scientific reader the great sweep ot 
modern research 



A PELICAN BOOK 
(A141) 



SCIENCE NEWS 
II 

Edited by JOHN ENOGAT and R. E. PEIERLS 

THIS second issue of Science News is devoted entirely to the 
subject of Atomic Energy, which is indeed science news in its 
most spectacular form. All the articles have been written 
by scientists who, at the time when the plans for it were made, 
were working at Los Alamos, UJS.A., on the project which 
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some American. 

The first article contains a general survey of the whole field, 
and forms the key to the rest. The second and last articles 
explain the general background. The remainder deal with 
special aspects of the field. 



CONTENTS 
EDITORIAL NOTE 

THE RELEASE OF ATOMIC ENERGY . R. E. PeieHs 
ATOMS AND NUCLEI H. A. Bethe 

PRODUCTION OF ATOMIC FUEL 

BY ISOTOPE SEPARATION R. E. Peterls 

THE TAMING OF ATOMIC POWER AND THE 

PRODUCTION OF PLUTONIUM H. L. Anderson 

THE PHYSICS OF THE BOMB P. Morrison 

RADIOACTIVE TRACERS M. Argo and E. Teller 

THE TOOLS OF NUCLEAR PHYSICS 0. R. Frisch 



THE THINGS WE SEE- 
INDOORS AND OUT 

By ALAN JARVIS 

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The text and illustrations provide us with information and 
visual comparisons which will enable us to " understand the 
. real potential of machine production and give clearer and 
less prejudiced guidance to the designers who set the machines 
to work." For it is the public, in so far as it shows critical 
interest instead of indifference, that determines the shape 
of the things we see. 

Price three shillings and sixpence 

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